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The Overnighters

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The oil-fracking industry in North Dakota attracts swarms of job-seekers from all over America, not all of whom find gainful employment when they get there. This compelling doc patiently records the ominous escalation of hostility in one small town, Williston, which is soon over-run amid desperate bedding down in cars and parking lots.

The locals react with understandable suspicion, but one pastor, Jay Reinke, sees an opportunity to put into practice Christian charity, opening up the church hall and even his own home to these unloved visitors. Reinke’s seemingly boundless willingness to help, however, sets him on a collision course with his congregation, his neighbours and indeed his own family.  

The film’s unwillingness to judge either the decent yet doubt-wracked pastor, or the damaged souls seeking a new start, effectively draws us in to a whole cluster of gnarly dilemmas, where humane intentions prove counter-productive and the truth only makes matters worse. Putting a face on the broken economy of Middle America, this urgent portrait of compassion under fire draws the devastating conclusion that goodness offers little reward when society proves implacably unforgiving of those who stray from its unyielding moral and economic strictures.

Written by Trevor Johnston

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 31 October 2014
  • Duration:90 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Jesse Moss
  • Screenwriter:Jesse Moss
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