Cash Crop: The Golden State Gone Green
Director: Adam Ross
By Tyler Davidson
In the various landscapes of America, year 2010, it’s too often that you find a documentary whose sole purpose is to beat you over the head with what you should think. These films are made by people, individual, free-thinking people, so obviously some bias will be present. With the seeming boom in documentaries ever since Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine in 2004, everyone’s in on it; from Morgan Spurlock’s demonizing of McDonald’s in Super Size Me to Ben Stein’s all-out assault on non-theists in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, these features are equal parts abrasive and confrontational.
Adam Ross’s Cash Crop is a, pardon the pun, breath of fresh air as far as documentaries go. The documentary, originally planned as a short film, takes lingering looks at those entrapped in the middle of the legalization debate, one which, in California anyway, came to a head this week. The jokes are almost too easy to make as the film takes on a sort of relaxed, passive vibe; we see gentle growers, compassionate cultivators humanized, not vilified. The marked lack of narration has been noted before, yet it bears mentioning once more, if nothing else than to draw even more comparisons to its predecessors. There is no pretentious, accusatory director putting words into his hapless victims’ mouths (strawman, anyone?), no disembodied omnipresence, simply interviews with its subjects accompanying beautiful cinematography, rendered all the more stunning in HD.
Cash Crop is a calm, insightful look at the often-fervent state of today’s marijuana debate, and certainly warrants at least one solid viewing. (Tyler Davidson)