Land – PG-13 – 1 hr 29 min
NO SPOILERS Movie Review
Watched in theater Friday February 26, 2021
AMC Southcenter 16 – Tukwila, Washington
9th new movie seen in theater in 2021
After a tragic personal loss, Edee resigns herself to a remote cabin in the woods where she intends to cut herself literally off from the world. It will be her against herself and nature. She goes against advice and doesn’t even leave herself a vehicle — and then winter and nature sets in.
This story somewhat reminded us in a way of another Nomadland, only in this film mother nature is a cruel adversary, whereas the other film is more about a woman choosing to live in a van and move from city to city in a nomadic lifestyle. Both protagonists seem to want to live alone, but Edee finds loneliness harder to escape. Also, Edee needs help to survive in the wilderness alone. Help to make sure she can eat and stave off the elements and wild animals.
At one point in the story I wanted to yell at Edee for her extreme naivete, her stupidity, rather, for not realizing how harsh the wilderness can be. I mean she thought she could survive in the middle of nowhere in a remote cabin on canned food? She didn’t know how to fish or hunt, she couldn’t even chop her own wood for fire. Come on.
Alas, the main character’s weaknesses and the fact that we don’t really understand why she’s doing this, keeps it entertaining. We want to know what was so bad in her life — besides the loss of her family — that would make her want to give up civilization to live as a hermit in the woods.
So many missed opportunities with sound. There is one scene early on when we think the scary sounds of nature will come into play, but that fear is never played upon again. There’s also an encounter with wildlife that I expected to come up again, but that is yet another scene that doesn’t get any payoff. It’s one thing to show us a conflict, but to never provide any sort of resolution later is frustrating. It’s like, why did they show us this in the story? There were several moments like this in the film.
The run time is not too bad, but if some of the redundant scenes were clipped, maybe 15 more minutes — like how many times cutting wood or going outside and looking at the majestic surroundings do we need? — then this would have improved the pacing.
As we left the theater, Kara and I spoke about the film and how it compared to another film with “land” in the title: Nomadland.
Kara felt this was pretty much a tie with Nomadland for her rating. I thought this was stronger on story and characterization. The cinematography in Nomadland was superior, but I go to movies to be told a story, not primarily watch a cool photoshoot. Yes, I like creative filmography, but I need a good story wrapped around or within it. This one had a stronger story, deeper characterization and invoked deeper emotions.
The downsides are slow pacing, the fact that it takes way too long to understand the main character’s motivations. The conclusion is very good, but by the time we get there, we are somewhat exhausted by what seem like too many unwise decisions. For these reasons, it’s not recommended.
Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️½ (Kara)