Year:  2022

Director:  Ingvar Kenne

Release:  November 9, 2022

Distributor: Screen Inc.

Running time: 93 minutes

Worth: $19.00
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Steve Rodgers, Anna Lise Phillips, Cameron Stewart

...a broiling, seething powerhouse of a film.

Sometimes, you don’t need all the bells and whistles. In a cinematic landscape structured on money and saturated with technology, where the shadows of blockbusters are cast across just about everything, smaller, more intimate films are still able to thrive and survive, and thank the movie gods for that. While big budget extravaganzas are often enjoyable, highly affirming fun, it’s good to get a little grit in your cinematic diet too, and audiences are thankfully still being served by edgy, uncompromising filmmakers with something to say.

Witness The Land, a powerful, cogently written, beautifully observed and astoundingly well performed Australian drama that tackles big, lacerating issues – family, guilt, toxic masculinity, betrayal, truth – on a miniscule budget, and still looks absolutely amazing in the process.

Jeremy (an incredibly bruising and nuanced turn from veteran character actor Steve Rodgers, who charts the emotional map here) is an apparently happily married family man. The curious listlessness and distance of his wife Neets (a bold, uninhibited, deeply sympathetic Anna Lise Phillips), however, hints that things might not be quite as rosy as they seem. When Jeremy’s long absent best mate Simon (Cameron Stewart in a beautifully slow burning performance) arrives for a visit, however, the fissures in Jeremy’s seemingly mundane suburban existence are slowly, grindingly ripped wide open.

Written with refreshing naturalism, emotional acuity, and true authenticity by leading men Steve Rodgers and Cameron Stewart, and directed with a sense of real visual poetry by acclaimed photographer and first time feature director Ingvar Kenne, The Land is a staggering slow burn of a film. It draws you in with its languidly beautiful imagery and relatable, likeable characters, and then agonisingly turns the screws, gradually and with great control revealing that none of them are quite who they appear to be.

Skeletons are dragged out of closets, alcohol unlocks secrets and provokes buried emotions, and we eventually realise that seemingly nice, normal people are occasionally capable of horrendous acts.

Astoundingly well directed, written and acted, The Land is a broiling, seething powerhouse of a film.

The Land is screening at Ritz Cinema in Sydney on November 9, 2022


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