140 Character Movie Review – #140RVW
Note-perfect movie of the sort seldom made; genuine older characters played not for laughs (although they’re riotous) but as real humans…
Spoiler-free Movie Review of Land Ho!:
Land Ho! is a marvelous picture; an absolute joy to watch and reflect on, as it does stick with you. Technically speaking, I guess you’d have to classify it as a buddy comedy, but that sells it short, even if it does follow some of the genre’s conventions.
The film follows a pair of former brothers-in-law whose friendship has dulled in the wake of the death of one sister and the divorce of the other. Australian actor Paul Eenhoorn plays Colin, a reserved and charming retiree and widower, reeling from the dissolution of his second marriage. His friend Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson), a human spark-plug, surprises him by booking them both for an adventurous trip to Iceland.
Following these two around is simply a blast. There are some similarities to the quieter road trip films like A Walk In The Woods, but it brings to mind nothing so much as the 2010 Steve Coogan / Rob Brydon comedy The Trip, with nearly as many movie references as that picture.
It probably goes without saying that the scenery of Iceland, with locales such as Reykjavík, Skógar, Jökulsárlón, Landmannalaugar, Gullfoss, Strokkur, and Blue Lagoon, is breathtaking. Too bad – I’m saying it anyway. Iceland is one of the few destinations that could get this homebody to take his act on the road, and the setting is as appropriate for the story as it is enchanting. DP Andrew Reed does a nice job.
The pacing is slow but lively, perfect for an amble around a new country. The tone is exactly right. Interestingly, the picture came together very quickly; I read that it premiered at Sundance just over a year after conception. The entire shoot was only 18 days. This is the beauty of digital filmmaking, for all of its detractors – the filmmakers were able to use a couple of Red One cameras, allowing for a quick shoot that captured the natural settings, improvisation and very easy, genuine conversations and interactions. This is entirely to the benefit of the film, as it allows for a closeness and familiarity that makes the picture work so well. I want to hang out with these guys…
The co-writing & co-directing team of Martha Stevens & Aaron Katz have really created something special here. This isn’t a film about “old” people and their wacky ways. It is a charming, funny story about two old friends off on an adventure. The friends happen to be more advanced in age than protagonists in many pictures. There are no cheap laughs here. This is an engaging film about real humans, not caricatures, positive or negative. Very highly recommended.
The Representation Test Score: B (9 pts)
|Main Cast||Earl Lynn Nelson Mitch
Paul Eenhoorn Colin
Daníel Gylfason Rental Car Employee
Þrúður Kristjánsdóttir Hotel Restaurant Waitress
|Director||Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens|
|Plot||A pair of former brothers-in-law embark on a road trip through Iceland.|
|Tagline||Come party with these guys!|
|Writers||Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens|