The unforgiving conditions that accompany the jaw-dropping beauty of nature set the stage for “Land,” the directorial debut from actor Robin Wright. Wright stars in the film as Edee, a woman who can no longer live in the world she’s always known after a tragedy shakes up her entire reason for being.
Suicidal and heartbroken, Edee withdraws from the life she once knew, abandoning it all and heading to a secluded cabin in the mountains. With no survival training, she soon finds herself with little food and no means of communication. When the end seems near, a good samaritan hunter (Demián Bichir) comes to her rescue and is able to save her in the nick of time.
The film reads like a meditation on grief and the nature of isolation, with an unhurried pace that lingers over gorgeous scenery of mountains and streams. Much of the first half of the film consists of a lot of staring off into space with handsome, snow-covered backdrops. You feel as if you’re right there with Edee, especially when her sadness takes over. There isn’t much story here, and Wright reveals just enough to preserve the mystery. The film’s pacing may still feel too slow for some, but there’s a purpose.
The survival story develops into one of friendship, as the man helps Edee find the human connection that she’s been missing. He teaches her how to hunt and live off the land, which saves her life in more than one way. The pair find strength in each other, and Edee begins to live again.
The burden is overwhelmingly on Wright to turn in a powerful performance since she carries the majority of the film, and she succeeds. She portrays Edee with a quiet determination and rugged grace that is both inspiring and heartbreaking, and she has a terrific chemistry with Bichir.
“Land” is a poignant story of both isolation and companionship, taking audiences along on one woman’s journey to discover how to live again.