After a devastating betrayal, Alex, a geology student, flees to the Mojave Desert to do research and rock climb. But she can’t escape her thesis advisor, Petro, who tries to control her from afar. Then she meets another desert dweller, Nick, a young cowboy who lives with his father, Everett, on a struggling cattle ranch. They become friends, bonding over climbing and the challenges of desert life. But then Alex’s research takes off—prompting Petro to demand she return to publish—just as a mistake she makes as an outsider threatens the ranchers’ livelihood. Alex must decide what matters more: a self-interested choice of a safe path toward a successful career or doing what’s right to support a friend and diving into the unknown.
My first impression of the premise was uncertainty. A film about a geologist? I was surprisingly delighted at how wrong I was.
We meet Alex (Alex Oliver), an aspiring geologist and rock climbing lover. When she discovers some old rocks to study in Norway that will make a mark in the rock science world, she gets betrayed by a fellow geologist (Ben Baur). She then sets her sights on the Nevada desert, much to the protest of her thesis professor Pedro Stein (Drew Gehling), who seems just out to use Alex for her skills. When Alex happens on Nick ( Jack Mulhern), a young cattle rancher, and his father (Jeremy Holm) on her trip, Alex’s trip becomes a bit more of a self-discovery journey as she learns what is worth more than friendship or career.
Written and directed by Jonathan DiMaio, he is the co-founder of the education non-profit, Yspaniola. His 2014 short film, Without the Ancestors, played at numerous festivals in the U.S. and Europe, including the Pan African Film Festival and ZINEBI in Bilbao. DiMaio shows off his talent again in Unconformity. Shot breathtakingly in the rural deserts of Nevada and Utah, the film’s cinematography (Hana Kitasei) is gorgeous, capturing the film’s feel and message, which is nature vs. human nature.
Performance-wise, the cast does a stellar job. What happens to Alex, in the beginning is a jaw dropper and is what makes me invest in her character, and Alex Oliver (Alex) does a good job. Her chemistry with Jack Mulhern (Nick) is awkward and natural… it is real, and you fall in love with them. Jack Mulhern is brilliant in his performance as Nick. He gives Nick an endearing shy awkwardness that makes your heartache. I was calling him “sweet baby Nick” throughout the whole film. Unconformity is a solid film, flows smoothly, and is a visually beautiful film with a story that holds you till the end.
You can watch UNCONFORITY here on Prime VIDEO.
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.