A postcode apocalypse. That’s what befell the town of Empire, Nevada elevation 4000, population now zero.
The fall of Empire is what makes America grate for so many working class citizens, folk who have bought into the capitalist dream to find themselves into the market driven nightmare of recession.
Manufacturing fractured and fucked over, blue collar quickly goes into the red.
No house, no home, no roof, no bed.
Fern fell foul to the fall of Empire. It was a double blow. Her husband succumbed to cancer, so she lost both spouse and house when Empire lost employment opportunities.
She sank her meagre funds into a camper van and hit the road, eking out a subsistence existence, at times working for the world’s richest man packing boxes at Amazon.
Sad, sombre and sobering and yet hopeful and optimistic, NOMADLAND is a hybrid movie, a docu drama filtered through with virtual verbatim, a mixed cast of actors and lived experience nomads. It’s a thrilling fusion.
Frances McDormand, on track for her third Oscar, plays Fern and David Strathairn plays her potential romantic interest, but aside from these two famous players, NOMADLAND features naturalistic performances from a slew of fascinating characters.
The plight of the itinerant, they need to work, they want to work, they need to eat, they want a skerrick of self respect, the sense of pride that comes from work. It comes to coruscating focus in NOMADLAND.
Unfortunately, Corporate America is not a uniting state, these nomads, the forced footloose, form a commonwealth of cohorts, offering advice and succour. A great deal of these nomads are older, men and women who have suffered grief and loss of loved ones, and the grief and loss of permanent employment.
Written for the screen, directed and edited by Chloe Zhao, it’s easy to go mad for NOMADLAND