‘Land’ Review

Over the past year, many of us have become familiar with the “remote” approach to life and work. For the main character of Soil, a woman traumatized by an incalculable loss, separation is not a matter of network adjustment but an existential imperative. She turns away from the rest of life in the city – especially the people and their need for her to be “better” – and exiles herself to a mountaintop cabin, believing She’s prepared for the wilderness. Soilmarks the first time that Robin Wright has headed a feature film, posing some of life’s toughest questions with a simple elemental force and with profound compassion.

After she worked in front and behind the camera for Dealer, Wright is a professional who practices both directing and writing at the same time, but the film takes her dual duties to a whole new scale and depth. As an actor, Wright has always shown more restraint than abandonment. That sensibility is well-suited to a story revolving around a battle of wits with death and the life-changing kindness of strangers. In the dramatic unadorned TV series, which will follow its Sundance premiere with a February 12 theatrical release, Wright and her co-star, Demián Bichir, deliver compelling and well-received performances. profound influence.

Key point

Quietly appease and observant.

RELEASE DATE February 12, 2021


A scene before the title whose brief cut sets the tone for the film’s narrative economy reveals that Edee (Wright) is overwhelmed with grief. It’s clear that she’s lost her husband and young son, but Jesse Chatham and Erin Digman’s script withholds the specifics of the circumstances of their deaths until going into the story – not in a teasing way. The usual poke of so many mourning movies, but in perfect sync with the character’s inability to share his grief. “Why would I want to share that?” Edee requested the therapist she visited at the urging of her concerned sister (Dealer co-star Kim Dickens). As she walks through downtown Chicago, the woman’s rumble surrounds an emotional symphony she’s determined to break out of.

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Above all, Edee needed to get away from people – from having to explain herself. And so she heads west, to the mountains of Wyoming, where she buys an abandoned hunting cabin on a parcel of land at the head of a long dirt road. Later in the film, treasured memorabilia suggests that the trip is a throwback, but nothing is clearly written, and Soil is all that stronger for it.

What follows is not an overland adventure, no cross-repair-above reincarnation escape, but an initial collision. Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski’s simple lens captures the brilliance and brutal intensity of beautiful Alberta locations. “Rustic” doesn’t begin to describe Edee’s bungalow, with its raw wood and brick, the house and its layers of dust and debris. Trevor Smith’s production design alludes to the ghosts of previous occupants as well as deftly conveys the privilege of Edee city life through a few fleeting interiors: her comfortable apartment and the therapist’s elegant office.

The fact that Edee could afford to make this dramatic leap – to buy land and all the equipment she needed for a long life of seclusion – was understood but never stayed. However punishing the events that have brought her to this point, and despite the immense pain she must endure, she can still make this choice. But it’s clear she’s engaged in more than one exercise, yearning for something she can’t articulate: Bereft and adrift, she needs to earn survival, minute by minute, to feel alive first elements are often unforgivable.

That this could also be a suicide mission is the paradox at the heart of Soil. Edee disposes of her car and phone, ensures that she is cut off from humanity and places her at the mercy of nature and minimal survival skills, no matter how bad she is. how much Northwest Game Processing Handbook. In the end, two strangers pull her back from the gates of death: a soul hunter, Miguel (Bichir), and his friend, an easy-to-understand nurse (Sarah Dawn Pledge, make a strong impression. ).

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Always taking care of Edee at her weakest, Miguel is efficient and confident. In a scene where she recuperates in the bright light of a fireplace, director Wright instills in her character a sense of openness and security. When Edee had regained enough strength to ask Miguel why he was helping her, his response was born of the hard-earned spiritual wisdom that is characteristic of the film: “You went above my path.”

With many Soil there are no lines, such lines echo. Even the little-used flashbacks — of Edee’s sister, husband (Warren Christie) and son (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) — are mostly wordless. The conductor and Bukowski create a delicate, poetic intersection between the present moment and glimpses of the past. Edee’s time in the mountains goes by step by step, the passage of time marked by the change of seasons, the length of her hair, and her growing comfort, under Miguel’s tutelage, with nuts and bolts hunting, trapping and feeding. (The film doesn’t promote hunting, treats it in a realistic way, and keeps the details of gutting and skinning offscreen.)

A friendship develops slowly between these two wounded but resilient identical souls who respect and understand each other even though they know little about each other’s lives. In Wright and Bichir’s performance, the unspoken words between Edee and Miguel are heard. They also had some fun socializing, especially during a campfire singing along to Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” (the second introduction in a recent feature, after the presentation). performed by Ethan Hawke in Tesla).

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Elsewhere, the emotional main sequence score is a wonderful fit for the quiet immediacy of this story and its aspirational blend of disaster, beauty, lack, and surprise gift. Without a drop of self-congratulation “enlightenment”, Soil occupy a wild terrain of irreplaceable tenderness.

Venue: Sundance Film Festival (Premier)
Distributor: Feature Spotlight
Production company: Big Beach, Flashlight Films, Nomadic Pictures, Cinetic Media
Actors: Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Kim Dickens, Brad Leland, Sarah Dawn Pledge, Warren Christie, Finlay Wojtak-Hissong
Directed by: Robin Wright
Screenwriters: Jesse Chatham, Erin Digman
Producer: Allyn Stewart, Lora Kennedy, Leah Holzer, Peter Saraf
Executive Producers: Robin Wright, Marc Turtletaub, Eddie Rubin, Chad Oakes, Michael Frislev, John Sloss, Steven Farneth
Director of Photography: Bobby Bukowski
Production Designer: Trevor Smith
Costume designer: Kemal Harris
Editors: Anne McCabe, Mikkel EG Nielsen
Music: Ben Sollee, Time for Three
Sound Designer: Paul Hsu
Actor: Jackie Lind

89 minutes

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