Robin Wright has made a career out of performances that are quietly intense and reflective, so it is no surprise that her directorial debut, “Land,” is along those same lines.
In an effective film about grief, loss and mourning, Wright and Demián Bichir provide solid performances to anchor the emotion.
Wright plays Edee, whose response to a personal tragedy is to move to a remote cabin in Wyoming and completely drop off the grid.
Her quest for personal peace gets off to a rocky start as Edee’s limited survival skills are no match for the harsh wilderness she now calls home. Near death, Edee is saved by a local hunter named Miguel (Bichir).
The rescue turns into a friendship, with Edee learning that Miguel also experienced personal tragedy – a bond that only strengthens their friendship and allows Edee to perhaps begin to heal.
Wright keeps it simple with the film clocking in at a brisk 89 minutes. As a director, she relies on the basics – breathtaking cinematography from Bobby Bukowski, a beautiful score from Ben Sollee and Time for Three and a simple yet emotional screenplay from Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam.
Wright’s decision to keep her main character’s backstory a bit of a mystery works for the most part, but it does perhaps take away some of the dramatic effect of the early scenes.
When it is just Wright, “Land” is a little more spotty, but Bichir brings balance to the story and a perspective that allows the story to advance to an ending with an emotional conclusion that really ties everything together quite nicely.
“Land” is the kind of emotional arc one has come to expect from a Wright performance, establishing that she is just as talented behind the camera.