‘Uncertain’ Documentary Follows Three Men in Quiet East Texas Town

This is Mother Nature’s favorite place; heaven and home, and a little bit of hell, too,” one man says of Uncertain, Tex., the setting of a mesmerizing documentary that takes its title from the town’s name. His statement may be true, and sadly, so may be his next: “It’s heartbreaking to know the only place like this is going away.

“Uncertain” looks at this remote outpost of 94 people and surveys its biggest problem — the nearby lake, which provides a livelihood for many of its citizens, is being choked by an invasive weed. It’s an environmental catastrophe, and at times an allegory for these rural lives and the modern world. But it’s also frequently just a side note to the three men whose interviews make up the bulk of the film.

Each of those three is endearing and exasperating: Wayne, a friendly hunter with a disturbing past; Henry, a wizened fisherman whose wife of more than 50 years has died; and Zach, a young man struggling to move away and manage his own troubles.

They talk of being shot, and of shooting others; of trying to get drunk or find God; of following dreams and abandoning hope. While scenes of the lake and land are magnificent, there are repulsive sights and stories, too. Whether inspiring or upsetting, all feel authentic.

Ewan McNicol and Anna Sandilands, the directors, allow for sly humor amid scenes that are often quiet yet never timid. As the filmmakers draw surprising information from their subjects, your own emotions may shift when the person you thought you knew is shown in a new light. Those are perplexing moments. They are also the mark of a very fine film. (SOURCE)

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