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The Independent Critic

Written and Directed by
Zac Adams
Narrated by
Billy Bob Thornton
Running Time
25 Minutes

 "Nashville Rises" Review 
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Known as the "1,000 Year Flood," the waters that devastated Nashville, Tennessee on May 1-2, 2010 caused over $2 billion in damages and inundated such country music landmarks as the Opry House and the Opryland Hotel with more water than this city had ever seen.

Where was America, I recall thinking to myself as I sat in front of my television watching news reports that seemed too few and too far between. While I certainly understood the world's response to international disasters in lands far more devastated by poverty and loss of life, I couldn't help but wonder why these floods hadn't garnered more attention right here at home.

In Zac Adams' excellent 25-minute short doc Nashville Rises, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean joined others in the opinion that it had as much to do with the city's natural resilience as it did any sense of apathy. Dean and others surmised that by the time the media had caught on to how devastating the floods had become, Nashville's residents were already in the process of rebuilding their lives, helping their neighbors and taking control of the situation.

Narrated with a compassionate reverence by Academy Award winning actor Billy Bob Thornton, Nashville Rises is far more about the power of the human spirit to overcome tragedy than it is the tragedy itself. With a heartbreaking and awe-inspiring blend of interviews, news clips, flood footage and personal testimony, Nashville Rises powerfully captures the emotional and physical devastation caused by the flood while simultaneously celebrating the sense of community and, well, volunteering that seems to flow through the blood of nearly every Nashville resident. Without minimizing the overwhelming losses, Nashville Rises celebrates the spirit of those who call Nashville home.

Adams nicely intertwines stories of everyday Nashville residents with testimony from some of its more "known" celebs including Charlie Chase, country singer Julie Roberts, Christian band Jars of Clay and a host of others. D.P. Bill Cornelius captures the beauty of Nashville and its residents, a stark contrast to the rather overwhelming floods and scenes of devastation from May 2010.

It is difficult to know exactly how to feel watching Nashville Rises, a film that vividly brings to life a level of devastation that was vastly underreported by national media but also a film that paints a simple yet beautiful portrait of a community that unites through it all.

Nashville Rises. Indeed, a truer statement may never be made.