Land (2021) Review
Robin Wright's debut directorial effort is the result of a long-running trail set by recent female-led films that focus on living off the grid, particularly Jean-Marc Valleee's Wild, Debra Granik's Leave No Trace and Chloe Zhao's Oscar-winning Nomadland. While the landscape is as breathtaking, Land cleaves too close to the familiar territory. The script's lack of imagination does not compare to its more spirited predecessors.
The majority of the film plays as a dark silent montage of an innocent Edee struggling to be self-sufficient.
Wright is the lead character Edee the woman who escapes to a dangerous cabin at the top of the mountain ranges of Wyoming after a tragic event in her life. Her character is not suited to life in a cabin as it is much more rough and tough than the cottage-style. The film is an unsettling silent montage of an aspiring Edee struggling to be self-sufficient. Hands are brittle with blisters from chopping firewood. She can't hunt, her crops shrivel and she's soon consuming cold tuna out of the can as she shivers during her very first cold winter. In one terrifying instant, the bear is seen circling her outdoor toilet, and swipes against the walls. Take heart, then, that Land often cuts off to the enticingly green mountain views to get relief.
Infrequent flashbacks of a more sunny past provide a reason for her uncontrollable behavior. In a state of sadness, at some point she's hoping that the elements will prevail. That's exactly what she'd receive in the event that gruff Miguel (Demian Bichir) is a hunter from the area did not step in to help her out, by providing medicine and patient instruction in survival techniques. From then on the film's scope narrows dramatically to the sacrifice of Miguel and Edee's redemption. It's the jovial banter between a self-absorbed, smug heroine and her mysterious saviour. For Edee unfortunately, Wyoming's environment and its culture serve as a backdrop to aid her in her therapy. Land's rote conclusion will cause you to long for something as volatile as weather and with a broader scope than what you see from her old porch.