“Earthwork” is a very nice movie about art, passion and pursuing your dreams. Stan Herd (Hawkes) is a farmer by trade but his real passion is creating what are called earthworks. It’s a very cool medium, but it’s also rather odd and expensive. What Herd does is, he uses landscaping materials like rock, plants, wood and produce to create amazing pictures that can really only be appreciated if you see them from the air. His latest project brings him to New York City where he’s been commissioned to create and earthwork on a plot of land that Donald Trump will soon build a high-rise on.
Once in NY, Herd meets a group of transient oddballs who live in a defunct subway tunnel nearby. While at first they think he’s crazy and don’t appreciate his infiltrating their lawn area, they all soon strike up a friendship rooted in Herd’s dedication to his art.
As I said, “Earthwork” is just a really nice little film. The sweat and tears Herd puts into his art is felt onscreen and Hawkes does a nice job portraying him. Where the film fumbles a bit is in it’s pacing and tone. This is a movie about a man so passionate about his art he’s willing to destroy his family and farm in order to pursue it. Yet the film never really taps into that emotionalism and due to that, really lacks a catharsis or punch.
That being said, I did enjoy “Earthwork.” I’d only vaguely heard of this art form so it was cool to see it represented onscreen. The film excels in showing just how hard Herd has to work to create his piece and since the film is based on a true story, I bet that the real life Stan Herd can attest to the difficulty of making an earthwork. I just wish there was a little more punch to the overall film.