I like Robin Wright's acting tremendously but after this movie am not enthused about her directing.
If you have ever lived in a remote area you will see the many inconsistencies in the story and will be frustrated by the character's stupidity and arrogance, if you haven't they won't bother you. I could have got past all the holes if the movie had been otherwise engaging, but I found it flat.
It is obvious what this film wants to be: a moving ode to recovery from grief, a survival tale set in an overwhelming world that most of us are just too under-prepared to deal with. But apart from a bit of decent acting it feels hollow. The pacing is monotonous - there just aren't any builds, lulls, no highs, no lows. The 'danger' scenes feel much the same as the 'touching' and the 'lonely' scenes; the wind, rain and snow feel much the same as the sunshine. There is no evocation of feeling, no momentum, no passing of time (the seasons are so confusing it is ridiculous).
There's nothing to grab you and pull you in. The beautiful shots of the Rockies don't evoke a sense of sweeping grandeur, they are flashed on screen for a moment and come off feeling like so much desktop wallpaper. It's all just surface stuff: here's a pretty vista, here are some deer, a bear (who is not hibernating in winter.) There is no struggle, things just happen. A dog was introduced and it wasn't even used it as a device to work the audience's emotions. It's just there for set dressing like a movie star's toy dog. (And to project the ending I suppose, which it gives away.)
But for one night scene the sounds of the mountains were almost completely absent: the birds, owls at night, foxes screeching, raccoons foraging, mice, insects buzzing, etc. No mosquitoes or black flies? The Rocky Mountains are a riot of sound and life. Sound that would have filled out those empty scenes, given us a sense of place, added to the hardship. I didn't feel the wind or rain or dirt under her nails, or hear the shots of the gun ring out through the wood in a death knell for the first deer she killed. It was too clean. It should have been a life changing moment, loud and harsh.
Perhaps RW left out the visceral elements in order to show the character did not feel anything, but if so the audience still needs to experience the wilderness - that's part of the contract when you make a survival film. We get to be in that place. Not evoking the senses is an amateur mistake in any film but especially a nature one. Nature should be an omnipresent force, a character - the antagonist - in a movie like this, but in "Land" she felt oddly passive and removed.
The only part of this film that really worked was the end - the actor who played the savior was excellent and moving.
I hope if Robin Wright directs another film she doesn't act in it - it is a large order to both star in and direct a film and I think this one suffers from both lack of focus and lack of experience. Also sub-par editing.