Land of Plenty

Written and shot in six weeks, this 2004 digital feature by Wim Wenders is seriously flawed but often moving as it probes the emotional aftermath of 9/11. A Christian missionary who's been living in the West Bank (Michelle Williams) arrives in LA to work in a soup kitchen and track down her long-lost uncle; meanwhile the uncle (John Diehl), a paranoid Vietnam vet, drives around in a ramshackle surveillance van looking for terrorists. He isn't a character so much as a collection of half-baked political conceits, and Wenders can't bring him to life, retreating into smug comedy as the uncle tries to foil an imaginary terror plot. The story slows to a crawl in its second half, yet Williams is excellent throughout, channeling the director's profound sadness over the sorry state of America. With Wendell Pierce, Richard Edson, and Burt Young. 123 min.

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