There are three stars in the movie Land.
The first is Robin Wright who gives a masterful performance as a woman fighting to survive crippling emotional pain and a hostile environment.
Then there’s Demián Bichir who saves her.
And finally there’s the ‘land’ or more specifically the movie’s setting – the picturesque Rocky Mountains.
Land tells of Edee (Wright) who is experiencing unimaginable grief. While at the start of the movie we don’t know what’s caused this grief, she believes she can’t deal with it by staying in her home in Chicago, despite the support of her loving sister Emma (Kim Dickens).
Edee’s answer is to buy unseen a parcel of land within the wilds of Wyoming (although the movie was actually shot in the Canadian Rockies). A small run-down cabin with no running water or electricity is located on the land.
To ensure she has no contact with the outside world she throws away her mobile phone and asks the real estate agent who sells her the isolated property, to take away her car.
As a result, she’s stranded in the middle of nowhere with only the provisions she has bought with her. Her aim, it seems, is to become self-sufficient by growing and catching her food (there’s no mention of her plans for other basics such as toilet paper, coffee or soap).
To say things aren’t as easy as they look in the book she has bought with her on surviving in the wilderness is an understatement.
Events such as lack of dry wood, a huge blizzard and a hungry grizzly bear destroying her provisions, result in her being near death when she’s found by local hunter Miguel (Bichir).
Miguel with the help of local nurse Alawa (Sarah Dawn Pledge), nurses Edee, back to full health. He then offers her a crash course in how to live in the wilderness. This includes proper fire-making techniques to keep the cabin warm and hunting lessons.
Despite Edee’s initial hesitancy she takes Miguel up on the offer and a platonic friendship grows between the two. As it turns out Miguel has his own demons, although as is the case with Edee we only discover the full story towards the end of the movie.
Wright, who also directs the movie, gives a wonderful performance as a traumatized woman battling her grief and the elements.
Given most of the first half of the movie is about Edee’s solo fight to survive, Wright expertly uses actions and her facial expressions rather than words to communicate her thoughts and feelings.
Similarly, Bichir’s Miguel is a man of few words so even when the two connect the dialogue is limited.
Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski perfectly captures the outstanding beauty as well as the many dangers of the land on which Edee relies.
While these dangers provide some `action’, Land is more of a slow burn personal growth story telling of a deeply pained woman overcoming her grief and rediscovering her will to live with the help of another individual who has also experienced great personal pain.
Land opens in cinemas around Australia on Thursday April 29.
*Photo credit: Daniel Power / Focus Features
- movie, reviews
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