Land: Film Review

Land

Daniel Power / Focus Features

I’ve always rated Robin Wright as an actress so I was keen to see how she fared behind the camera and I thought her feature directorial debut Land told a beautiful and moving story.

Following a horrific tragedy, a bereaved woman named Edee (Wright) buys a remote mountainside cabin in the middle of the Wyoming wilderness and gets rid of her phone and car so she is completely off the grid and isolated from the world. She has no experience of that life – she can’t chop wood, catch a fish or hunt – so she struggles to survive out there, until local hunter Miguel (Demian Bichir) comes to her rescue, offers her friendship and helps her cope with her grief.

I loved the narrative and the journey Edee goes on over the course of the movie. She starts off not seeing the point of living following her profound loss and initially refuses to let herself become friends with Miguel, insisting she doesn’t want to be around people, but she grows to enjoy his company, connect with others, address her grief and feel like life is worth living again.

Despite the film only being 89 minutes, it still feels quite slow, but that’s because we spend a large portion of the movie just watching Edee on her own trying to survive out in the woods and there’s no dialogue to latch onto. It’s never boring though and I was still captivated. I had no concept of time with this film so I couldn’t figure out how long she was supposed to be on her own for, but it was a welcome change of pace when Miguel arrived and offered up some much-needed conversation, companionship, wilderness survival tutorials and ’80s singalongs.

The location of Edee’s cabin – which was actually shot in Alberta, Canada – is absolutely stunning. The landscapes are gorgeous and the cinematography is breath-taking. It actually made me want to go there (but only in the summertime).

I’m usually a person who dislikes having very little information about a character. I like to know as many details as possible. We have a couple of flashbacks with Edee and her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) and we have enough nuggets to guess what happened, but that’s about it. However, on this occasion, I liked that Edee’s backstory was withheld until the end of the film – holding it back delivered more of an emotional gut-punch and it made the ending much more poignant.

Wright delivers an emotionally raw performance and was a compelling presence onscreen throughout. Edee is cold and unfriendly and Bichir’s Miguel offers a good contrast – he is kind, warm and lovely – and I liked watching their friendship develop and him tearing down the walls she’d built around herself.

If you can’t tell from all that praise, I was a big fan of Land and I recommend checking it out.

In cinemas from Friday 4th June

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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