Sundance 2021: Land

Robin Wright appears in Land by Robin Wright, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by Daniel Power. Copyright Focus Features LLC 2020.

Critically acclaimed actress Robin Wright marks her feature directorial debut with Land, a film about the search for meaning in the wilderness.

Edee Holzer (Robin Wright) retreats into the Wyoming wilderness after events leave her feeling withdrawn from the world.  What is her reason for doing so?  Will withdrawing from society lead to her being able to find meaning in life?  Only time will tell.  What I can certainly tell you is that she is totally unprepared for the decision.  Who in the hell would do such a thing without any sort of preparation?!?  You don’t just decide to buy a log cabin in the woods and then not bring enough supplies for survival!  This is what we refer to as AN EPIC FAIL.  If you know anything about the forest, you should know that wintry conditions can be harsh.  You can admire the visuals–it’s a given–while giving her the side eye for not prepping.  Is this too much side eye or not enough?

A local hunter, Miguel Borras (Demián Bichir), enters her life when she is massively struggling to survive in the woods.  Summer has already become fall and then winter by this point.  If not for Miguel, Edee would not survive.  Miguel is the person that comes through with teaching her how to survive in the woods.  They develop a friendship over the course of many visits, Edee specifically requests that he not tell her about any news.

There is no denying that the Rocky Mountains make for some astounding visual scenery.  Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski captures the images on all of its stunning beauty.  Oh, does he ever.  I feel like I say this about every film with similar scenery but it’s true.  It’s too bad that the bigger groups added on January and February because so many awards are all but locked up at this point.  Land won’t really be able to benefit from a conversation with its late January launch at Sundance.

While I admire the film for its scenery, it’s the type of film I personally struggle to watch at home.  It’s honestly the type of movie to watch on the big screen.  I put Nomadland in the same category in that both films have my interest but it’s ultimately a struggle when watching at home.  This isn’t to take anything away from the filmmakers because some of us are just struggling during the pandemic when it comes to focusing.

At its core, Land is a film about grief and the decisions we choose to make in response for better or worse.  We can choose to be present or like Edee, we can run away from it all.  You can call it running away but at the same time, Edee has to fight every single day.

DIRECTOR:  Robin Wright
SCREENWRITER:  Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam
CAST:  Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Kim Dickens

Land holds its world premiere during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the Premieres section. Focus Features will release the film on February 12, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.