6.2/10
1,327
9 user 16 critic

In Dubious Battle (2016)

R | | Drama | 17 February 2017 (USA)
Trailer
2:30 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $0.99 (HD) on Amazon Video

An activist gets caught up in the labor movement for farm workers in California during the 1930s.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay) (as Matthew Rager), (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
1,372 ( 206)
2 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Ad

Genius (TV Series 2017)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A series which explores how patent clerk Einstein could not get a teaching job or doctorate in his early life, yet managed to go on to solve the secrets of the universe.

Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Johnny Flynn, Nicholas Rowe
Mean Dreams (2016)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Follows Casey and Jonas, two teenagers desperate to escape their broken and abusive homes and examines the desperation of life on the run and the beauty of first love.

Director: Nathan Morlando
Stars: Sophie Nélisse, Josh Wiggins, Joe Cobden
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

When 11-year-old Gitty discovers that her beloved father is hiding a wealthy man in her family's silo in order to save their struggling farm, she is forced to choose between saving the ... See full summary »

Director: Anne Hamilton
Stars: Peyton Kennedy, Richard Schiff, Kip Pardue
Wolves I (2016)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

An 18-year-old basketball star who is being recruited by Cornell University seems to have it all figured out: captain of his team, a good student, has a longtime girlfriend and some good ... See full summary »

Director: Bart Freundlich
Stars: Taylor John Smith, Michael Shannon, Carla Gugino
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jim
...
Mac
...
London
...
...
Edie
...
Vera
...
Dr. Burton
...
Frank the Foreman
...
Mr. Anderson
...
Al
...
Dan
...
Bolton
...
Joy
...
Vinnie
Julian De Niro ...
Billy
Edit

Storyline

In the California apple country, nine hundred migratory workers rise up "in dubious battle" against the landowners. The group takes on a life of its own-stronger than its individual members and more frightening. Led by the doomed Jim Nolan, the strike is founded on his tragic idealism-on the "courage never to submit or yield." Published in 1936, In Dubious Battle is considered the first major work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Steinbeck.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Batalha Incerta  »

Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

None of the elements of the story concerning "corrupt" labor organizers - sawing the ladder so that an old worker would fall, sacrificing Joy's and Mac's life - exist in the original Steinbeck novel. Steinbeck, who witnessed strikes and met many labor organizers in the 1930's depicted these characters as idealists, but in the film adaptation they are presented much less sympathetically, as manipulating and ruthless people. See more »

Goofs

Scene where Mac brushes his teeth, he's using a 21st century white plastic toothbrush with accordion bend. See more »

Soundtracks

Stepping In, Stepping Out
Written and Performed by Timo Elliston
Published by 16W18 Music (BMI)
By Arrangement with BANG NY
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
James Franco fails to deliver the best in Steinbeck's story
27 February 2017 | by (Belfast, Northern Ireland) – See all my reviews

"In Dubious Battle" was one of the movies I wanted to see more than any other film from Hollywood in 2016. My original enthusiasm faded quickly only after 10 minutes into the film.

Let me explain: "In Dubious Battle" is one of the best Steinbeck novels, as important classic as its companion piece, the unforgettable "Grapes of Wrath", which not only happens during the same time period, also deals with the same issues of this era. "In Dubious Battle" hasn't been filmed before, for obvious reasons, as it has much more clear political message in it, as the main characters are members of the American Communist Party, who are sent on a mission to fight for fair wages among the apple pickers, who are mostly vagrant families and other victims in the downfall of the economic collapse, which lead to the Great Depression. Unlike "Grapes of Wrath", "In Dubious Battle" is mainly about how destructive and unfair the labour laws were during that time, which enabled rich land owners to exploit the destitute workers to the maximum, giving them basically wages which wouldn't have even covered the expenses of food and shelter.

However... I find it near inexcusable for what the writers and the director have actually done to this masterpiece of source material. Some of the most memorable scenes and events in the book, have been completely either written out or have been softened or edited into something completely different, which no longer does any justice to the original Steinbeck novel. This has lead to very visible and easily noticeable mistakes and clear errors in the production of the movie. There are totally unforgivable errors of fluid continuity via truly strange film editing, mainly in form of abrupt cutting, which even leave seriously weird time gaps: -As an example, one of the most memorable scenes in the book, is the first meeting between Al and the newly arrived Jim & Mac, has been butchered to a bare minimum, which fails to deliver any of the originally intended importance of this meeting. This is the first truly odd of really weird cuts throughout the film, which leaves in amateur like time-lapses. There should have been a complete scene, where Al prepares for them a free meal out of sympathy and after being flattered, a hamburger steak with mashed potatoes and thick brown gravy, which is described meticulously in detail by Steinbeck in the book, using almost two pages to underline both the hunger of Jim & Mac, and to establish the future important relationship between Al, his father and Jim & Mac.

I would see the main culprit for this travesty being mainly the director James Franco. His direction clearly shows he doesn't seem to have any emotional attachment for telling this important story, which is evident in how much has been actually left out from the original complete story. Franco hasn't done anything to cover the obvious and weird time gaps and missing events in this movie. It would be justified to say that Franco probably hasn't concentrated nearly as much as he should have. Could be out of interest or just lacking adequate motivation. In any case, I am not impressed with Franco's directorial work. He is still much better as an actor. As a director he has made silly mistakes and unforgivable editorial choices, which do effect the entire movie's atmosphere and how well the story is being delivered to the viewers. As it stands now, the movie lacks emotion, dynamic and empathy for the story or the characters.

The second fail point for this movie is its casting - Almost the entire cast of the main characters appear to be far from being motivated, and this has lead to a display of some of the most mediocre acting performances of 2016. The only exception to the rule is Vincent D'Onofrio, who is playing London, and even in his case, just barely. I find just about everything disappointing in this film, cinematography certainly isn't doing any justice to it either, and this could be possibly because the sets aren't in any way convincing that this is early 1930's, the camera angles are to put it mildly, unconventional, there are close shots, when the scene would have rather called for medium or even long shots and then there are long shots in place of close shots. In some places the seriously weird cutting disrupts even viewers ability to follow the story, as the cuts don't make any sense. The third low point is the soundtrack, which doesn't fit the movie, or the time-line, when the movie is supposedly happening.

Finally... Even with all the shortcomings in this movie, it is still watchable and even enjoyable (with strong reservations), but don't expect a clear and concise masterpiece. It works also much better for those people who haven't read Steinbeck's novel, but fails to convince most of the film scholars and academics, who will easily spot the many flaws in this production.


10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?