Barton Springs, near Austin TX, is a beautiful natural water park that attracts thousands of Texans every year to enjoy its splendor. Gary Bradley is a real estate developer who sees the Springs as the key to transforming thousands of acres of land into a vast residential development. The lines are thus drawn for a conflict between profits and “progress” and the environment in “The Unforeseen.”
Robin's Review: B+
Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” tackled environmental issues on a global basis. First-time documentary feature filmmaker Laura Dunn lowers her sites to a more microcosmic level with her investigation into the battle between uncontrolled land development and our fragile environment. Such notable public figures and activists as Robert Redford and Willie Nelson lend their names to what became a massive environment movement to save Barton Springs. On the other side of the fence is real estate tycoon Gary Bradley who wants to turn a 4000-acre ranch into the biggest subdivision in all of Texas. To achieve this dream, though, would require tapping into the spring-fed aquifer of Barton Springs, a move that would likely mean the end of the local landmark. Helmer Dunn, though her heart is on her sleeve, gives an even-handed view of things from both sides. Sure, Bradley is out to make a killing on his grand deal but he is also giving thousands the chance to purchase a piece of the American dream. But, the environmentalists make a strong point in preserving a piece of nature – that gives pleasure to thousands of visitors every year. It is short-term gain versus long-term loss and “The Unforeseen” leans strongly toward the latter. This is an affective, eye-opening first work and Laura Dunn shows talent in her telling about this intriguing environmental conflict.