In Brief: A Groundhog Day clone done teen-romance style. It has some good points but not enough to give it more than an average rating.
Land is Robin Wright’s first trip behind a camera. It’s not a bad start.
Wright’s most famous roles as an actress are as the Princess Bride and as the love of Forrest Gump’s life. She’s done other parts but those are the ones she’s most known for doing.
Outside of being famous for those roles, Wright is also an exceptionally talented actress. She puts those skills and new found skills as a director to work in this interesting character study.
Wright plays Edee. She’s suffered a life-altering tragedy and can’t seem to recover. Her solution is to buy a huge tract of land high on a mountain top in Wyoming. She’s living in an old, uninsulated and mostly dilapidated cabin and is going to live off the land and escape reality.
The real reality is that she has no idea how to survive in such a hostile environment and almost starves and freezes to death before being saved by Demian Bichir’s Migel. He’s not living off the land but spends a lot of his time hunting in areas around Edee’s spread.
They form a bond. It’s not romantic.
As the movie moves along, exactly what happens to Edee is revealed. Both stories — written by newcomer Jesse Chatham and Eric Dignam who directed Wright in Loved 1997 — are interesting but not super special.
The non-romantic chemistry between Wright and 2011 Oscar-nominee Bichir (A Better Life, Midnight Sky) is exceptional. There isn’t a lot of dialogue. That helps — rather than hinders — the character development. The two actors are very comfortable just grooving on nature.
The scenery — by the way — is spectacular.
What makes the movie work is Wright’s patient directing and ability to tell a story. She skillfully blends the survival, life struggle and other story elements with nature’s elements.
It’s a beautiful movie.
Director: Robin Wright
Stars: Robin Wright, Demian Bichir, Sarah Dawn Pledge, Kim Dickens, Warren Christie, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. This is a beautifully done movie with incredible scenery, excellent acting and a decent story. Give it a 4 out of 5 on the Friday Flicks with Gary o to 5 scale.
You can see Land at the Living Room Theater in Portland.
Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.