LAND attempts to capture the pain of grief, mental health, and compassion
As Robin Wright’s directorial debut, Land attempts to capture the pain of grief, mental health, and compassion. However, the exploration of these themes never seems to stray from the safety of the sidelines.
The film sets out to show how basic acts of kindness can go a long way in steering someone out of doom and helping to remind them of the warmth in life. Sadly, it has a hollow casing that just doesn’t do its intended sentiments or its characters justice. We get several flashbacks of our main character dealing with her past life with hallucinations/daydreams about a man and a child that leave you to piece together who they are and what probably happened to them. For a film about deep human connection, it’s hard to pull that off when it doesn’t start until 40 minutes in. It’s jarring and doesn’t feel organic to the first act, where every five minutes feels like an hour.
Edee (Robin Wright) is a middle aged woman looking for a new life away from her painful past, alone in a cabin in the middle of the Colorado woods. When she hits rock bottom after not adjusting to her new surroundings, she gives up. A nearby hunter notices her chimney smoke go out, goes to check on her, and finds her freezing to death. He slowly brings her back to health and they form a cordial bond.
There are times the story feels more like a character study on someone going off the grid and not being able to handle it. But the second half of the movie is about her growing friendship with Miguel, and it feels more like a primetime drama. The story feels incomplete by the time you get to the end, even though the film shows you everything it wants to.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The most interesting parts are when Edee and Miguel, played by Demian Bachir, are sharing the screen. There is a scene where they’re sitting around a fire singing Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.” Both characters are singing about people wanting power when they could care less about having anything like that. It’s the only moment that actually moved me in any way. Robin Wright by herself is fine, but her overall performance didn’t blow me away.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The film’s strongest technical aspect is its stunning cinematography. The natural beauty of the wilderness creates excellent scenery. It almost feels like a nature documentary in certain shots. I absolutely love the opening scene of her driving through the mountains to her cabin.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
At the beginning, it feels like a horror movie, with the sounds of the wild haunting her in the night. Then later on when she encounters a bear trying to attack her, we just hear its growls bellowing behind the wall and it’s terrifying. The score is at its best when it accompanies her deepest moments of sorrow and grief. Filled with gorgeous strings, it makes me sad there wasn’t a strong enough story to reel me in all the way.
It’s not lost on me what the film is going for, but I honestly just didn’t connect to it the way I thought I would. That being said, I still wouldn’t completely disregard it as your next movie night choice.
LAND opens Febuary 12th ONLY in theaters