In “Deep Time,” Noah Sutton’s follow up film to “Crude Independence,” the story is still boom time in North Dakota (crude oil and crude prosperity). The title “Deep Time” seeps into you like poetry. The film comes in a subtle wrapper of respect for 40,000 years and a modern-day fuse burning through our children’s lifetime.
Seven years since being interviewed in the first film, a teen left town, came back, married his girl, had a kid, and bought a bar they both run. His girl thinks Stanley ND is a good place to raise a child though it’s way different than it was. She’d rather move away. He knows that it’s way different – good and not so good – but where else can people like them do so well?
A farmer had shrugged that oil wells all around wouldn’t affect his modest farmer ways. People in Stanley didn’t know what happened to him. It turns out he cashed-in on oil and moved to a less sullied part of North Dakota, where he built a huge nouveau riche “cabin.” He shrugs, seven years after the last interview, “That’s being selfish but that’s the way it is.”
A tribal leader looks at “sovereignty by the barrel” that pays more than the federal government’s raw deal ever paid. A humbler member of the tribe wonders why certain Indians are buying a helicopter and a yacht, wonders about who wins and loses in fast housing development deals. He studies constructing a sustainable home where he might live off the grid.
This film runs slow like certain films need to. Its indicative look at the “deep now” happening in North Dakota is a cautionary report that doesn’t wag its finger at selfish, but it pays attention.