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A Soft Landing On a Hard Pad

This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Land (2021) on IMDb

house on a hillA recent trauma leaves Miss Edee Holzer (Robin Wright) feeling out of sorts. Neither her therapist nor her sister Emma (Kim Dickens) can bring her out of it, so she packs her bags and moves into a cabin she buys in the Western Range of Wyoming to escape civilization. Since she's wearing her ring but the real estate agent addresses her as “Miss,” we take it she'd just lost her husband. Since she packs her boy Drew's drawing, but there's no kid she keeps in touch with, we expect she lost him as well. She's a tidy packer arranging her belongings to fit cheek-by-jowl in card­board boxes. She moves into the cabin of an “old man” who passed away a little over a year ago. It's where Miss Tidy is meant to be, suggesting a natural death was easier to relate to than the sudden demise of her family.

snowboundWhen the elements and the beasties are like to be the death of her, she's revitalized by a Good Samaritan, a hunter Miguel Morras (Demián Bichir) who was passing by. He helps her take up deer hunting, which had earlier revolted her. Perhaps her family tragedy involved a weapon, she's not saying. Miguel also suffered a family loss eight years back; his wife and daughter were killed in an auto accident. He used to drink, but he's not talking about that, either. Today he's helpful to strangers. Doesn't excuse his drinking, though. As author Chris Holm put it:

In the end, every monster he'd ever met was just a man, full of hopes and fears and weaknesses of mind and flesh. But that didn't mean they weren't also monsters. (289)

There's a feeling that these two needed to interact with each other for both their healings.


The deer she spots seem always to be a single pair, a larger and a smaller. When she sights one in her rifle, she freezes and can't pull the trigger. This might suggest the way her husband and son were killed. (Eccl. 3:18-21)

I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they them­selves are beasts. For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

band lineupFurthermore, Edee was very tetchy when Miguel suggested she should be happy to be where there are, “no more cell phones, no more traffic, no more celebrations.” We'd seen her dispose of her cell phone in the trash, escape the traffic congestion of the city, and (later) post a picture of her son's birthday party on the wall. It could be she was keying in on the defining event where a celebration pick-up was arranged by phone, attended through traffic, and ended with a shooting. This is not explained—yet—but there's some­thing there. It's like what novelist Martin J. Smith wrote: “He hoped her husband's murder was a business deal gone bad, or a car­jacking, or a life insurance hustle, or a jilted lover's revenge. He hoped Paul Dwyer had some sort of secret life that would explain it all and provide a logic for his death. ¶Because, more than most, he knew death with­out logic was the worst death of all” (8).

From the deer's standpoint, the shot that killed it was a bolt out of the blue; there was no logic to it. When Edee kills her first deer, she is starting to integrate what happened to her with what happens in the natural world.

(Eccl. 3:22) “Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?” Edee was content not to worry about the news of the out­side world but to occupy her­self with the necessary work of survival. She found some happiness in it.

coffee time(Eccl. 4:1) “So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.” Edee found no comfort from her well-wishers who “just want me to be better.” She asks concerning her suffering, “Why would I want any­one to share in that? They can't any­way.” And Miguel certainly found nobody to comfort him about his drunken driving. Why would anybody? These were two peas in a pod.

fishing(Eccl. 4:2) “Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.” When fishing in the stream Edee visualizes her husband and son fishing, too, in some parallel world having gone on to a happy place. It's certainly better than here.

(Eccl. 4:3) “Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.” Better than both the living and the dead, how­ever, are the stick figures of a boy and a girl in drawings done respectively by Drew and Miguel's niece Kaya. They're inhabiting a happy place par excellence. These happy creatures are better off than the rest of us, past or present.

Production Values

” (2021) was directed by novice Robin Wright. It stars Robin Wright, Demián Bichir, Sarah Dawn Pledge, and Kim Dickens. Wright is a consummate actress here directed by herself. She'd get it right naturally without being told externally, and she did solid acting in facial expressions and body language where dialogue was minimal to nonexistent. The rest of the actors were up to par.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for thematic content, brief strong language, and partial nudity. I think young people would be bored by its slow pace anyway. The cinema­tog­raphy of Bobby Bukowski and an original score by Ben Sollee complemented well the dramatic undertones. It was filmed in Alberta, Canada. It was 88 minutes long but seemed longer due to its slow pace.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

Its lead carried the film emotionally, but the one and same director was unable to raise it above a chick flick. It's as if a couple went camping and we got the version from only the female's per­spec­tive. The Good Samaritan was like an AA member on a mission get him­self right with the world. The Rockies photo­graphed as Canadian where the film was shot, not as western Wyoming where the story was set. The old man's abandoned cabin looked like a doll house made up. The wild­life was at arm's length. The male lead was Mister Sensitivity while the female support were Ms. Brusque. Unless you are into male–female role reversals I don't recommend this one as a date movie. It should work pretty well, though, as a chick flick.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well, at least you can't see the strings. Video Occasion: Strictly chick flick material. Suspense: Predictable. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotations are from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Holm, Chris. Red Right Hand. Copyright © 2016 by Chris Holm. New York: Mulholland Books, 2016. Print.

Smith, Martin J. Combustion. Copyright © 2016 by Martin J. Smith. New York: Diversion Books, 2016. Print.