Sundance 2021: Land

Bereft from some ambiguous tragedy, some half-crazy white lady drops everything to go live on a mountain, totally alone, without being adequately prepared. No phone, no car, nor running water even, this scenario spells disaster to absolutely everyone except her, who persists against all common sense.

Edee (Robin Wright) seems not to have thought of pretty obvious things, like cold, and like bears, which are both pretty big threats to isolated cabins in the woods. This is shaping up to be a pretty short movie. Lucky for Edee a hunter (Demiรกn Bichir) happens by and thoughtfully notes the absence of smoke from her chimney (Edee having lacked the skill to chop wood and the sense to stack it inside). He saves her from the brink of death, and when she’s finally healthy enough to speak, she tells him to get the heck out. She’s come up here to be alone, you know. Grudgingly she consents to semi-regular visits as long as he brings no news of the outside world. He teaches her all the survival skills that she had no business living up here without, and in exchange she’s barely grateful. Because she’s sad! And because she doesn’t consider that others might be sad too.

Land isn’t a bad movie – how could it be? It’s been made so many times there’s a tried and tested blueprint to follow, and as a first time director directing herself, Robin Wright follows it pretty closely. There’s some very pretty scenery and a quietly commanding performance from Wright, but nothing we haven’t seen before, no new insights, no new tricks. It’s hard enough having empathy for a woman who’s so cavalier and careless, but truth be told, neither character is well-developed and we need more to get a true connection.

Wright is a competent director but Land is a retread of places we’ve seen, people we’ve known, emotions we’ve explored. It’s safe and it’s familiar and it probably didn’t need to get made.

4 thoughts on “Sundance 2021: Land

  1. abigfatcanofworms

    I love the line “this is shaping up to be a pretty short movie”. ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†. That woman would be a runner for the Darwin Award… only she would have to die first. I guess hunter man sabotaged that honour.

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