Teen TV Critic

A Town Has Turned to Dust and it's not a pretty sight.

By Vivian Rose

Imagine Earth (in 2200 A.D.) as a dusty, barren wasteland on which scrap metal is the only commodity worth mining. Except for the Dwellers, who mine the scrap, most of Earth's inhabitants now live on New Angeles, an asteroid in space.

That's the setting for the Sci-Fi Channel's original movie A Town Has Turned to Dust (premieres June 27), which stars Ron Perlman (remember how great he was in Alien Resurrection?) and is based on a script by the late Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling.

A New Angeles native reporter named Hannify (Gabriel Olds) visits the Earth town of Carbon to do a story on the Drivers--Native Americans who don't exactly get along with the Dwellers. When Hannify's flight home is delayed, he stumbles onto--and into--a bigger story. Jerry Paul (Perlman), the dictator-type ruler of the Dwellers, has accused Driver Tommy Tall Bear of raping and beating his wife, Maya (Judy Collins). Normally, people accused of crimes are sent back to New Angeles for a trial, but with the flight back delayed, Jerry has a chance to take matters into his own hands.

Although Sheriff Harvey Denton tries to protect his prisoner, he fails, and Tommy is hanged in the streets by Jerry's private lynch mob. (Had Tommy gone to trial and been convicted, he would have served five to ten years in prison.) Jerry was insanely jealous, and had a long history of racism against the Dwellers, which led to his twisted version of the truth. Maya, who was having an affair with Tommy, remains greatly distressed, and will never forgive Jerry for the hanging.

Hoping to reveal the truth, Hannify records all these events on tape--including the lynching, which he wasn't supposed to tape. In the end of his story, Hannify concludes that they should all be able to live together in peace, but that it doesn't seem likely to happen anytime soon.

While A Town Has Turned to Dust is extremely well performed with a moving plot, and certainly worth watching, it is not without flaws. For one thing, the setting undermines the impact of the story by distracting the viewer. I found that I was much more horrified by what these people of the future--as a whole--did to our planet than what they did to each other as individuals. If they do all decide to live together in peace, that's wonderfu--but they'd still be living together in peace on either a destroyed planet or a big piece of rock in the sky. Don't tell me that would be a happy ending.

Totally Teen TV! is delighted to welcome Vivian Rose as a regular contributor. Best known for her daily film reviews on the popular Teen Movie Critic website, the Winslow, Arkansas native began her career at the age of 9 on a local radio show. Now 15, Vivian has been writing celebrity interviews for the Tampa Tribune for the past three years. She also reviews movies with adult anchor Steve Voorhies on the local CBS affiliate KFSM-TV in Fayetteville-Ft. Smith, Arkansas.

To write Vivian about this site,
contact vivianrose@ipa.net (Vivian Rose)

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