The trailer for The Land suggests more of an atmospheric coming-of-age story than a routine crime drama, despite a premise involving a few teens finding a bag of drugs and launching a fledgling criminal enterprise. According to the synopsis: “Buddies Cisco, Boobie, Junior, and Patty Cake skateboard the streets of Cleveland, Ohio, dreaming of getting discovered by a sponsor and skating their way out of poverty.” That is, until they start selling drugs that aren’t theirs to sell and piss off local kingpin “Momma” (no, not that one).
But rather than showcasing scenes of escalating danger and violence, the trailer refreshingly leans on milieu, imaging the back alleys and abandoned buildings of Cleveland as one giant skate park. Too bad the preview also boasts one of those worrisome “featuring music by” title cards and some overly earnest dialogue like, “I wanna go somewhere with no rules and shred all day.” Still, if The Land’s DNA mostly comprises worn edifices and an underdog spirit, the movie could transcend its genre trappings instead of being shackled by them.
The Land—which was executive produced by Nas and stars Erykah Badu, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Cleveland’s own Machine Gun Kelly—hits theaters and VOD on July 29.