In a stunning vision of direction and narrative, actor turned director Robin Wright brings to the screen a beautiful presentation of the life-changing journey that one woman makes when she returns to nature in Land.
After experiencing an unspeakable tragedy, a middle-aged woman retreats to an isolated cabin in the Wyoming wilderness. Surviving hardship, a near-death experience, and a surprise friendship, she must become comfortable living again.
Best known for her performances in works such as The Princess Bride, Forest Gump and House of Cards, multiple Emmy nominated actress Robin Wight makes her directorial debut with Land, a superb story of one woman’s return to nature and this is a narrative that calls out to your soul. In a film that is quiet and introspective, Wright tells a story of escapism, tragedy, acceptance and finally self-love and it’s amazing to watch this woman’s journey as she finds a way back to life through the very substance of nature itself. Both leading the film as director and as its lead character Edee, Wright focuses on a film that is extremely contemplative and where the film’s substance adheres more to imagery over dialogue.
In the lead role of Edee, Wright creates a character who goes on a hard-fought and affecting journey. Beginning as a scarred, scared and traumatised woman who has lost much due to a catastrophic tragedy, she sets off to lead a new life out in the mountainscape of Wyoming. While at first her new home is blissful and beautiful, mother nature is an unforgiving caretaker, and when winter finally arrives Edee is dealt a very harsh hand. Through luck and the kindness of strangers she survives the winter and goes on a journey back to nature and in doing-so reconnects to who she was before. Wright’s performance in Land is incredibly brave and honest and she holds nothing back in her exploration of grief, survival and balance, and her performance is deeply affecting in this role.
Playing off of Wright is noted performer Demián Bichir as Miguel, a hunter and trapper who comes to Edee’s aid in her hour of need. As Miguel, Bichir brings a naturalness and authority as this old-school cowboy type, who is a man of few words and who can sense the pain that has befallen Edee, and helps to bring her out of her trauma by taking her into nature and teaching her to learn to thrive in it. Bichir gives a solid performance within the narrative as Miguel, and a honest friendship forms between these two characters which gives the film its soul and heart.
The beauty of Land is held both in its performances, alongside the imagery that is presented on screen. From summer to autumn, winter to spring, we are a witness to the changing landscape of the Wyoming wilderness and it is a place that is astounding to behold. Mother nature is captured in all her beauty and fury here, and we see every part of this still untamed landscape brought to life thanks to the direction of Wright and the eye of cinematographer Bobby Bukowski. Land is a movie that enchants the eye and you are transported deeper into the film’s narrative of renewal thanks to the beauty that is captured on screen.
Land is film that speaks to the soul and is a beautiful story committed to film. Heartfelt and affecting it is without-a-doubt one of the best films of the year and it’s deep narrative meaning and journey of hope will resonate with all who view it.
Image: Universal Pictures