Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Land Ho!": A Film About Nothing

Now Available On DVD and Blu-Ray

Land Ho! is generally what you’d expect from a low-budget film making its rounds on the indie circuit.  It’s about two older guys, taking a vacation in Iceland, seeing the sights and exchanging humorous, naturalistic banter along the way.  Though the characters are likeable and the setting is gorgeous, the filmmakers seem to have forgotten a critical piece of crafting a narrative; there’s no damn story to this thing!

Our two main characters are Mitch and Colin.  Mitch is basically what you would get if you aged Walter from The Big Lebowski to his sixties and turned his lechery up one-hundredfold.  Colin is the more grounded, sensible, less adventurous type.  Mitch pulls Colin along on an adventure to Iceland, because why the hell not, and as the two talk and have quaint montage moments, we get pieces of their pre-retirement backstories that humanize them and make them relatable to the film’s primary demographic of retirement-age folks.  This is all well and good, as the actors playing our two leads have a rich chemistry between them, so the friendship feels genuine if not simply an enactment of the performers’ genuine fondness for one another.

However, the film lacks any sense of conflict to drive it forward.  The only time the film ever comes close is when the two friends get into an argument two-thirds of the way through, and that gets resolved so quickly that it hardly seems to matter, even with respect to the film’s thankfully short runtime.  The main focus on the film is to take advantage of the gorgeous scenery that Iceland has to offer, but this has the effect of making the film feel like a glorified travel brochure rather than a fictional feature film.

And that’s all there really is to say about it.  There isn’t any substance here to analyze, and the film seems content to just be a character-driven travelogue without any conflict or narrative.  I’m sure that some folks in the target demographic will be able to vicariously enjoy the Icelandic countryside through the main characters that are so archetypal that one could easily identify oneself in them, but this is certainly not a film that’s going to entertain a wider audience.  It’s not bad for what it is, but what it is lacks so much ambition as to be mostly pointless.

Can’t even think of a good comment starter for this one.  Old people, am I right?  Comments below and whatnot.

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