The Loneliest Planet is an odd yet stunning film that examines the devil in the details, but it’s also tedious and challenging to watch.
Alex and Nica are young, in love and engaged to be married. The summer before their wedding, they are backpacking in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia. The couple hire a local guide to lead them on a camping trek, and the three set off into a stunning wilderness, a landscape that is both overwhelmingly open and frighteningly closed. Walking for hours, they trade anecdotes, play games to pass the time of moving through space. And then, a momentary misstep, a gesture that takes only two or three seconds, a gesture that’s over almost as soon as it begins. But once it is done, it can’t be undone. Once it is done, it threatens to undo everything the couple believed about each other and about themselves. — (C) IFC
The Loneliest Planet is an intriguing behavioral study. The chemistry between the lead characters is believable. Gael Garcia Bernal and Hani Furstenberg provide great performances that looked natural on screen. The locations are wonderful, which help hold the audience’s attention that are likely to stray considering it’s extreme subtleties.
While a few won’t mind the unconventional direction, it’s challenging for the rest. On the surface, the film is simply about a young couple on a backpacking trip, accompanied by a local tour guide. Repetitive sequences of long takes and sparse dialogue set against the backdrop of stunning landscapes takes up the duration of the film. Despite the pretty locations, you’ll still end up bored or skip parts of the movie.
But when you do, you might end up missing a crucial scene in the film. Just when your patience is about to expire something happens. One mere gesture that corrects itself in just over minute, sends a ripple to the couple’s relationship. The couple is tested, and their notions about each other is challenged.
The film is a slow silent boil and it’s wearisome. But underneath it’s an original and beautiful movie that’s designed to linger in your thoughts afterward. It demands the audience to pay attention, and then serves thought provoking subtext. It’s an understated look into human nature and the minute details that change our lives in an instant. As the saying goes, it’s the little things.
My Rating: 7/10