Land” is a movie obsessed with separation, because it studies a woman who separates herself from society. Due to a tragic incident in her life, she carries a major emotional burden. She carries that burden alone and removes herself from her home, off to a remote mountain cabin somewhere out ‘Into the Wild’. Is she there to find a new beginning, or is it a way to end it all?”
Edee (played by Robin Wright) is a woman in severe mental pain. She is traumatized by an unspoken incident involving her husband and her young son. They are not anywhere around because they perished in a terrible event. Emma (played by Kim Dickens) is Edee’s sister, and she sees the anguish that Edde is holding inside. She just wants Edde to get help and not do anything to hurt herself. But Edde has other plans.
Edee leaves the urban hustle and bustle, and goes out alone to a Rocky Mountain retreat. But she will not be in some luxury resort. She has found a desolate mountain-top shack that is twenty miles of bad road from nowhere. She will be out there alone and she had no good idea about how to survive living off that land. Edee will not have a vehicle, or a cell phone. She only has the meager provisions that she bought in town. If the canned food runs out, she will be in trouble. Winter is harsh, and brown bears in the area raid her food supply.
During a bad winter storm, she is without food and gets knocked down to the cabin floor. She passes out, and she is confused when someone else is there. A local hunter named Miguel (played by Demián Bichir) had passed the cabin earlier, and on the way back he checked inside. He had found Edde severely ill on the floor. He got a local nurse who works on his Reservation to come and help. She is named Alawa (played by Sarah Dawn Pledge), and she wants to take Edde into town to get to the hospital. Edee does not want to go anywhere like that.
Edde slowly recovers due to the help that Miguel continues to give her. Edee still wants never to discuss her past and the reason that she is out alone by herself. But she now understands that she was totally unprepared for the wilderness. She appreciates that Miguel wants to help train her to become self-sufficient. He shows her the right way to fish, and how to create a small garden. In the fall, he will show Edde how to hunt, so she can have food for the next winter.
Edde eventually learns that Miguel also had a family lost in a tragic event. She is not quite ready to disclose her inner torment. But she slowly understands that people can have issues and terrible events can happen. However, that does not have to rule their life after that incident. They can still go on and make amends and make peace with their past. For Edde it is very difficult, because she holds all that pain into herself. Perhaps, in the solitude of this mountain, she can learn to lift that burden and become whole again…
“Land” is a beautiful move to watch, with the location in the high mountains and plenty of open sky. The acting is superb, if a bit low-key. But based on the characters they portray, it makes sense that these people are not talkative and slightly morose. Robin Wright has always been top notch in the acting category, and now she makes a double duty threat by also being the movie director. Demián Bichir does a wonderful job playing the “Yoda” type teacher to the young (ish) student of Nature.
It is very interesting side note that this movie has a few things in common with another ‘unprepared person going into Nature to live and then struggles against the harsh environment’. That other movie is “Into the Wild”, and it was directed by Sean Penn. Sean Penn was married to Robin Wright at that time. Just a coincidence?
“Land” is an excellent first start for Robin Wright as a director, and she gives a powerful performance as someone ready to walk away from the world…
Directed by: Robin Wright
Written by: Jesse Chatham, Erin Dignam
Starring: Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Kim Dickens, Sarah Dawn Pledge
Music by: Ben Sollee, Time for Three
Cinematography: Bobby Bukowski
Distributed by: Focus Features
Release date: February 12, 2021
Length: 89 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic content, brief strong language, and partial nudity