Candid Cinema

Sundance Film Festival: ‘Land’ Review

By: Amanda Guarragi

In Robin Wright’s directorial debut she captures the beauty of nature and the world we live in. Her character, Edee has been suffering for a while now, after the loss of her husband and son. She has been trying to live, meanwhile she feels like she is just existing. She feels like she doesn’t have a purpose in life anymore. The choices made by Wright when introducing Edee to us, in the first half of the film, were great but then it gets rocky as the film goes on.

What Land shows us, is that sometimes grieving a loved one is harder than it seems. Especially when you have lost your family. Edee struggles with the idea of living, she moved up into the mountains to be completely isolated because she just couldn’t bear being around anyone she knew at that point. Slowly, Edee tries to adapt to mountain-living. However, not being able to hunt for food or cut wood for a fire – what we don’t see as basic necessities – is the only way to survive out there. But Edee did not want to survive. We see her break down over not being able to do anything on her own, the idea that she needed assistance and no one was there, her family wasn’t there, ate at her.

Instead of taking her own life with a rifle, she slowly starved herself to death because that seemed easier. I’ve always believed that when you are in a bad headspace, if someone comes along who shows you kindness, just that alone can alter your mindset. When a local hunter, named Miguel (Demián Bichir) stumbles upon her and saves her, it changed everything. Edee and Miguel’s budding friendship was strictly based on the fact that she wanted to learn how to live out there. Edee didn’t expect to have such a strong bond with Miguel and it’s because they truly understood each other, without even realizing it.

Land has beautiful cinematography and great direction from Robin Wright. Even though this isn’t my type of film I can certainly appreciate the work that went into it. Wright gives a strong performance about a grieving mother and widower, who is trying to find a way to live again. The pacing is what made this straining to sit through. It’s a strong debut because of some choices she made but the script was lacking in what it was trying to say.

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