Earthwork

Critics Consensus

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75%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 24

96%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 248
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Movie Info

EARTHWORK is the true story of real-life crop artist Stan Herd (played by Oscar nominee and Spirit Award Winner for "Winter's Bone" John Hawkes, in his first starring role), told through a single episode of his life. In 1994, Stan traveled from Kansas to New York City and risked everything to create a massive environmental artwork on land owned by Donald Trump. The multi-acre piece was made from soil, rock, plants and vegetation near an underground railway tunnel. Stan recruited a number of homeless individuals living in the tunnel as his crew. Over the months it took to complete the earthwork, Stan dealt with the difficulties of bringing his unique, rural art form to an urban canvas and the many costs exacted upon his life. In an effort to show his unique perspective to a larger audience, Stan unexpectedly encountered the true meaning of his art and it's ultimate, lasting rewards. Shot almost entirely in rural Kansas (with a one-day shoot in New York City) on a minimal budget, EARTHWORK is Chris Ordal's feature film debut. Ordal, a University of Kansas alum, was taken by Stan Herd's dedication to his temporary art and found it the perfect story to tell through film, a permanent art form. "It was important to me that my first feature capture a story that needed to be told via the cinema. Stan Herd's art is temporary, eventually returning to the earth after it has lived its life. EARTHWORK is an attempt to share the beauty and truth that Stan creates with an audience through a medium that can last forever. Stan has to get people into a helicopter or a tall building in order for them to see his work, so getting his art on the big screen finally allows audiences to experience his art and discover his incredible story." The filmmakers were very determined to exemplify the spirit of Stan Herd throughout production, and thanks to an amazing and supportive crew, EARTHWORK was a production as "green" as the story it told. -- (C) Official Site

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Critic Reviews for Earthwork

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (6)

  • "Earthwork" takes an unexpected swerve but one that adds layers of meaning and emotion to a film that is as beautiful and wrenching as it is unassuming.

    May 19, 2011 | Rating: 4/5
  • Character actor John Hawkes, his rural demeanor tailor-made for hick pics, breaks through typecasting stereotypes in his nuanced portrayal of crop artist Stan Herd in Chris Ordal's ambitious Earthwork.

    Apr 29, 2011 | Full Review…

    Ronnie Scheib

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • John Hawkes brings a laconic soulfulness to this ultra-low-key, only mildly involving tale of artistic pursuit.

    Apr 29, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Directed, written and produced by Chris Ordal, "Earthwork" is best left to TV.

    Apr 29, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Earthwork's narrative follows too-familiar templates, and its characters lack the careful detail of Herd's own art.

    Apr 28, 2011 | Rating: 5/10 | Full Review…

    Ian Buckwalter

    NPR
    Top Critic
  • Imagine spending an afternoon watching a bunch of vagrants putter around on an abandoned city lot, and you've pretty much nailed the viewing experience of "Earthwork," a painfully dull account of a year in the life of the Kansas crop artist Stan Herd.

    Apr 28, 2011 | Rating: 1/5

Audience Reviews for Earthwork

  • Apr 24, 2011
    True story of a Kansas farmer commissioned to create a scrawling natural artwork in NYC has a certain earthy charm. John Hawkes is in fine form in the lead role, even though some supporting performances feel a bit stiff. It runs a bit on the schmaltzy side, but it's obviously a labor of love, and that goes a long way. Still, can't help but feel that this would have made a better documentary than a feature film.
    Matthew L Super Reviewer

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