Making her directorial feature-length debut, Land is an unusually small effort from actor Robin Wright (The Congress). Atmospherically dour with beautiful cinemtaography, Land is also in the same meditative spirit as 2007’s Into The Wild, a film written and directed by Wright’s former husband Sean Penn.
Wright, however, also stars in this vehicle as Edee, someone who escapes to the woods to live independently as she distraughtly wrestles with her depression and grieves the loss of her immediate family. She has help moving into a secluded cabin, but makes it known that she doesn’t want to be disturbed. Unbeknownst to Edee, this is a silent cry for help to everyone around her including a stranger named Miguel (Machete Kills’ Demián Bichir). Miguel finds Edee practically dead when the weather turns cold. While she makes her independence known to Miguel, he offers to show her some outdoorsy skills. That way, Edee can survive on her own and Miguel can carry on living without the guilt of ignoring her. The main dynamic in Land between Edee and Miguel is sweet, although uninspired, and the actors have solid chemistry with each other. However, the film pitches exactly the relationship the audience is predicting between these characters, and stops at this expectation.
That actually sums up Land as a whole: it’s a movie that fulfils its necessary requirements, and doesn’t feel the need to improve on the formula or the characterizations. Except for an exciting and tense confrontation between a defenceless and fearful Wright hiding from a hungry bear scrounging for food. Edee hides in an outhouse and, fearfully, watches the bear between the cracks of the door as the animal saunters into her cabin. We hear the bear rummaging, we see Edee stunned, and for the first time – and the only time in Land – we have no idea what’s going to happen.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie