Despite a drunken rampage or two, the actor's performances are low key. O'Nan keeps his emotions bottled up. He is the typical embodiment of the stoic, who finds it difficult to communicate what he is feeling. Ferrera, as the sympathetic wife who only wants to help, but is continually frustrated by her husband's silence, also gives an understated performance. Melissa Leo plays James' mother, and is very effective as the dying woman who never really sees what is happening to her son. Valderama provides a nice contrast to James. Raymond, his character, is out of work and not getting along all that well with his wife, but he doesn't seem to be suffering in quite the same way as James. He seems more inclined to escape from his demons, if indeed he has any, with booze and broads.
The Dry Land is not a splashy film. I don't know that it is the first to point out that the effects of war on those that we send to fight do not disappear when they come home. I don't know that it will be the last. So long as wars will be fought, there will be a need for someone to stand up and say, they are not fought without a cost. They do not leave those who fought unwounded. The Dry Land is a film worth seeing.
The DVD now out has commentary by Ferrera and Williams, a trailer, and information on resources available for veteran's care.