Drama

Land

Robin Wright takes the emotional journey into the wild.

Robin Wright makes her directorial debut of “Land,” in which she casts herself as a middle-aged woman, who decides to live the remainder of her life as a hermit. It’s quite an impressive debut with themes from “Leave No Trace” or “Into the Wild,” and how she overcomes sadness and cynicism. You respect her character’s wishes, once you see her true colors, and you’re able to support her the best way you can.

Her character Edee has suffered two great losses, and finds it extremely difficult to be around people, including her sister Emma (Kim Dickens). So, she grabs some canned goods and heads out from Chicago to a remote cabin in the Wyoming mountains. Apparently, she isn’t prepared for the thieving bears or blizzards that leaves her starving and nearly freezing to death.

Did she even think about the challenges to living in the wild with no phone, no heaters, no electricity, and not much supplies? All she thought about was canned food, axes, and fishing, but not much on the tools if it rains indoors or if the outhouse reeked. Given the near-death experience Edee suffers from, I was reminded of the ending to “Into the Wild” with Emile Hirsch accidentally eating poisonous mushrooms, and succumbing in the trailer.

But her guardian angels come to her aid, even though she never asked for help, and they consist of a nurse named Alawa (Sarah Dawn Pledge) and a kind hunter named Miguel (Demian Bichir). She refuses to get better treated in a hospital, and so, Miguel must help bring her health back. He brings her spirits back by training her to hunt, playing with his dog, and even singing “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

That basically summons up the movie, which isn’t as profound as “Nomadland” because of some confusing elements, but it is nearly as gorgeously filmed and well-acted. I loved gazing at the mountains, snowy environments, and rivers, which look clean as a whistle. Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski (“The Messenger”) makes those scenes look lovely. It’s not a thriller, and it’s not a formula picture; it’s a relaxer that makes you want to go back outside, when it’s warmer out, while keeping you guessing on where the main heroine will lead to next in her life.

Wright guides herself very well by easing into her character’s emotions (written by Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam), and contemplating on life and death. As I’ve mentioned, she suffered from a great tragedy, and is unsure if she can go on living, but then she eventually comes around, thanks to the kind hunter. I’m not going to spoil anything else, but I can also praise Bichir for delivering some sensibility and passion to his character. These two have chemistry, and no bickering is required. Again, a relaxer.

“Nomadland” is the better movie of its kind currently playing in theaters(an instant classic at that, bare in mind), but “Land” is still worthy of your time and money, because of how Wright provides her strengths and weaknesses, how it cuts back on social media (she tells Miguel not to give her any info about the outside world), and how we see these characters with different sparks in life.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

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