James Benning adds voiceover to his usually silent landscape films in this meditation on the human ability to turn well-meaning ideas into darkness.
Through each season we see a rustic cabin and the trees, hills and distant mountains that frame it. Each shot lasts half an hour. Some of the time is spent in silence but the rest of the time Benning reads excerpts from the journals of Theodore Kaczynski, AKA the Unabomber. In the early 70s his thoughts are simply about survival and his surroundings. As time passes he expresses his anger with the people who disturb his peace: motorcyclists, miners etc. finally he describes his numerous bombing attempts and his manifesto. It is hard to disagree with all of his thoughts and that is just one of the things which makes the film enthralling. The long still show really encourages thought and it is hard not to almost see the young Unabomber hiking in the distant hills.
In fact the scene is not Kaczynski's Montana and does not portray the Unabomber's cabin. Benning built a replica on his own land in California and shot there. The film is about much more than the Unabomber though and it is not an attempt to understand him or document his beliefs. I think it is an exploration of the disturbing results that can come from any ideology, no matter how much it seems to make sense.
Usually this type of more experimental film has its fair share of walk outs but no one left Stemple Pass. As long as you know what to expect and are still intrigued then I highly recommend the film.