(director: Robin Wright; screenwriters: Jesse Chatham/Erin Dignam; cinematographer: Bobby Bukowski; editor: Anne McCabe/Mikkel E.G. Nielsen; music: Ben Sollee/Time for Three; cast: Robin Wright (Edee), Demián Bichir (Miguel), Sarah Dawn Pledge (Alawa), Kim Dickens (Emma), Warren Christie (Adam), Finlay Wojtak-Hissong (Drew), Brad Leland (Colt); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Allyn Stewart/Peter Saraf/Lora Kennedy/Leah Holzer; Focus Features/Big Beach Films; 2021)
“It might be a minor film, but it was crafted well.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The directorial debut by the veteran actress Robin Wright, who also stars in it, is a solid effort. The survival drama is from a screenplay by Jesse Chatham and Erin Dignam. It had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on January 31, and is scheduled to be released on February 12, 2021, by Focus Features. It’s about a broken woman’s search for a new meaning in life in the American wilderness after an unfathomable event alters her life and leaves her traumatized (with memories of her husband (Warren Christie) and son (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) blurred.
After tragedy strikes Edee (Robin Wright) flees the city in her rental car and looks for serenity in a newly bought modest mountain-top cabin without many modern conveniences, that’s located in the isolated Wyoming wilderness. When a bear tears through her house and destroys her supplies, she survives the assault with some injury, no food in the house and a blizzard arriving. Almost freezing to death in her sleep, Edee is awakened by a hunter from the area named Miguel (Demián Bichir) and his nurse friend Alawa (Sarah Dawn Pledge). She nurses her back to health, while Miguel schools her in using a rifle and how to survive alone in the wilderness. With that help from her generous stoic neighbors, the arrogant city girl adjusts to country living and survives without a cell phone or car or need to explain herself.
Her relationship with the hunter is vague, as there are hints of romance but that’s all. But before the third act concludes, we’re bombarded with flashbacks of Edee’s back story as we learn what happened to her and her family back home and how she needed a new environment to escape from the old one. The film has a stillness that locks into its meditation on nature and trauma story.
It might be a minor film, but it was crafted well and is convincing. It held my attention throughout, and its starkness was suited to the film’s low key mood it sets and Wright’s pleasing understated performance.
REVIEWED ON 2/16/2021 GRADE: B