Saturday 26 November 2022

Movie Review: Land (2021)

A mental crisis drama, Land is scenic but slight.

Edee (Robin Wright) is in a depression following the death of her husband and son. After her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) pleads with her not to harm herself, Edee leaves her life behind and relocates to a rural off-the-grid mountain cabin where she intends to live off the land.

Having no experience in hunting, fishing, or chopping wood, she runs out of food. Hunter Miguel (Demian Bichir) finds her near starvation, and with support from nurse Alawa (Sarah Dawn Pledge), they help Edee regain her strength, although she refuses to leave the cabin. Miguel starts to frequently drop by to teach Edee survival skills, and they develop a gradual friendship.

The directorial debut of star Robin Wright, Land is filled with static shots of beautiful rugged terrain. The movie was filmed in the Alberta Rockies, and mother nature is a prominent co-star. However, an 89 minute film stocked with ponderous postcard beauty is in some amount of narrative trouble. Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam collaborated on the script, and a woman alone in an isolated cabin yields many pages devoid of any dialogue, momentum drifting away towards the distant mountain tops.

This takes nothing away from Wright's performance, as she throws herself into a role reminiscent of Emile Hirsch in Into The Wild. Ill-prepared, Edee will disconnect from a pain-causing society and retreat into nature, and if death is a price to pay, so be it. This asking-for-it attitude is both frustrating to watch and effective at conveying the depth of despair, and Wright carves a path from nice-try determination to hopeless odds, where a bear, bitter cold, and starvation await.

The final third is a maybe friendship-in-the-making with Edee nudged back to an equilibrium by a kind stranger and his dog. She perks up, but this Land best belongs on an art gallery wall.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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