Based on the novel published in 1936 by John Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle tells of the fight in Californian apple country of the workers who rose up against the landowners who halved their pay in a lengthy, dangerous protest. The whopping 3 minute trailer for the 1 hour 50 minute drama directed by James Franco is a sight to behold and the film promises to be a real moving epic story of man kind standing up for fair treatment. The enormous cast features Franco himself, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, Bryan Cranston, Vincent D’Onofrio, Sam Shepard, Analeigh Tipton, Josh Hutchinson, Selema Gomez and Nat Wolff. That is 1 Academy Award winner and 5 Academy Award nominees in the one ensemble. If the film gains enough traction it may see the first Academy Award nomination for Nat Wolff in his most demanding role yet as Jim, a young worker who ends up fronting the movement.
With the extreme variations in Franco’s work – from brilliant drama, to comic book movies, to low-brow comedies, to slightly left of field arthouse, to full-blown experimental films, it is good to see his involvement in a deeply serious, ambitious project. The large scale film looks so strong – the sweeping portrait of 1930 American depression, could join the likes of Forrest Gump and The Green Mile as a dramatic film to be cherished for a long time to come. The only set back is the casting of Selena Gomez and Josh Hutchinson, two celebrities who really don’t match the calibre of their cast mates. In Dubious Battle completed shooting at the end of 2015 and screened at multiple festivals in 2016 to mostly good reviews, yet there is no word of it’s wide spread theatrical release yet. You can watch the trailer below.
Nat Wolff in In Dubious Battle
Robert Duvall in In Dubious Battle