Daily Archives: July 3, 1995

The Crude Oasis

Made for only $25,000 in and around El Dorado, Kansas, this odd and interesting though not entirely successful first feature by writer-director-producer-editor Alex Graves belongs to the loose subgenre alienated loner moving through desolate landscapes in brooding long shotsa kind of art movie that filmmakers as disparate as Michelangelo Antonioni and Jon Jost have built their careers on. The writing tends to be stronger than the direction in this depiction of a lonely, weak-willed, exploited, and childless housewife (Jennifer Taylor), who encounters in real life a young man (Aaron Shields) she’d previously seen only in a recurring bad dream and idly follows him around. Though there’s a fitfully interesting dialectic between phantasmagoria and boringly mundane life in a small town, one feels that Graves is only intermittently in control of the resulting ambiguities. But the cast acquits itself admirably, and the oil-field landscapes leave their impression as well; with Robert Peterson, Mussef Sibay, Lynn Bieler, and Roberta Eaton. (JR)… Read more »