Saturday, February 13, 2021

Land - Movie Review

The Movie: Land

The Director: Robin Wright

The Cast: Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Sarah Dawn Pledge

The Story: A bereaved woman seeks out a new life, off the grid in Wyoming.

The Review:
I think we've all wanted to give up our lives at some point leaving everyone and everything behind for a much smaller, more quiet existence and this movie really taps into that feeling. The sense of loss and bewilderment after a traumatic event like what we see in this story is very authentically portrayed which allows a viewer to easily see themselves in Edee's place. The story is very laid back and quiet although not without drama, it's just more of a simmer than having any major emotional moments.

This movie is Robin Wright's first feature film as a director and I am very impressed with the result. It's pretty clear she has taken her experience as an actor and applied all that knowledge to being behind the camera. The entire production looks clean and the cinematography by Bobby Bukowski is just beautiful. The filmmakers take full advantage of every location with an emphasis on wide open spaces and stunning wilderness backdrops. This really helps to tell Edee's story and how she reawakens from trauma by escaping literally everything about her life which was stuck in a past she couldn't bear to maintain.

In front of the camera, Wright's performance ins understated just like the overall feel of the movie so it's a really good match and she seems to know exactly what to give to each moment. She spends a lot of time on screen by herself and those are the moments where we really see her transform as she learn to literally survive in the wilderness. Then you add in Demián Bichir and the whole thing just gets elevated to another level. I have always liked Bichir in just about everything I have ever seen him in and this performance just might be my favorite of any of them.

Bichir has such a strong presence without being overstated and he is clearly comfortable allowing his character to provide a supporting role which is impressive considering how understated Wright also is with her character. Bichir also provides the one knock out emotional punch which comes late in the third act and it really sold me on this being a great movie that I really enjoyed. There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this movie and they all get told without being preachy at all, the whole thing is a very insightful look at recovering from trauma and how we deal with loss.

The Verdict:
Land is a beautifully filmed feature debut from Robin Wright who excels both in front of and behind the camera. Demián Bichir gives the type of performance that elevates the material and turns it into something just a little more special.

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