Land (12A)Cast: Sarah Dawn Pledge, Robin Wright, Demian Bichir
Author(s): Erin Dignam, Jesse Chatham
Director: Robin Wright
Release Date: 04/06/2021 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 89mins
Edee is haunted by beautiful phantoms of her husband Adam and young son Drew. She openly discusses the pointlessness of life with her sister Emma, who pleads with Edee to battle through the darkness. Edee entrusts her fate to Mother Nature in a remote cabin with a wood-burning hearth. She is ill-prepared for the invasion of a hungry bear and Edee prepares to join Adam and Drew until a kindly hunter called Miguel and his nurse friend Alawa intervene in the nick of time.
LondonNet Film Review
In Jules Verne’s 1875 adventure story The Mysterious Island, Captain Nemo uses his dying breath to impart nuggets of wisdom about his exploits aboard the Nautilus. “Solitude, isolation, are painful things, and beyond human endurance,” surmises the intrepid seafarer. The grief-stricken lead character in actress Robin Wright’s feature directorial debut believes that solitude and isolation are the only way she will ever come to terms with her soul-shattering loss. Her radical course of action – to abandon the home comforts of Chicago for a ramshackle cabin in the snow-capped Rocky Mountains – inspires a handsomely photographed but emotionally light drama of self-healing, which trades heavily in the breath-taking vistas of Alberta, Canada, as a stand-in for the script’s vast canvas of untamed Wyoming…
Wright and co-star Demian Bichir are repeatedly at the mercy of Mother Nature: bathed in heavenly sunshine in bucolic summertime scenes; their frozen breath visible as winter gusts whip the words out of their mouths over undulating blankets of fresh snow. Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski savours every fiery, ombre sunset and dripping icicle, hanging like a glistening dagger from the cabin’s roof.
Screenwriters Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam aren’t afraid of extended periods of silence, when Wright has to carry the crushing weight of her character’s sadness with wordless anguish and determination. Those interactions between leading lady and an unforgiving environment are the most compelling aspects of Land. When characters disgorge their inner turmoil, it sometimes feels dramatically necessary rather than natural and running jokes involving Star Wars and the Tears For Fears pop rock anthem Everybody Wants To Rule The World skirt perilously close to cute contrivance.
Edee (Wright) is haunted by beautiful phantoms of her husband Adam (Warren Christie) and young son Drew (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong). She openly discusses the pointlessness of life with her sister Emma (Kim Dickens), who pleads with Edee to battle through the darkness: “Don’t hurt yourself… for me.” Edee entrusts her fate to Mother Nature in a remote cabin with a wood-burning hearth. She is ill-prepared for the invasion of a hungry bear and as the cold and starvation take a vicelike grip, Edee prepares to join Adam and Drew, until a kindly hunter called Miguel (Bichir) and his nurse friend Alawa (Sarah Dawn Pledge) intervene in the nick of time.
Land is an assured study of one woman’s reawakening in the aftermath of tragedy. Wright is fiercely committed to the physical rigours of her role (“I’m here because I choose to be,” Edee defiantly assures Miguel and Alawa) and she sparks delightful screen chemistry with Bichir. Writers Chatham and Dignam risk weakening that partnership with a heavy-handed and manipulative denouement that feels like an easy victory after so much tortured introspection.
– Kim Hu
London Cinemas Showing Land
From: Friday 18th June
To: Thursday 24th June
From: Friday 25th June
To: Thursday 1st July
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