Film Review – The Loneliest Planet (2011)

The Loneliest Planet

Title – The Loneliest Planet (2011)

Director – Julia Loktev (Day Night Day Night)

Cast – Hani Furstenberg, Gael Garcia Bernal, Bidzina Gujabidze

Plot – Alex (Bernal) and Nica (Furstenberg) are a happily engaged couple backpacking together and looking forward to life and all its wonders. When Alex and Nica employ the services of Dato (Gujabidze) to take them on a trek through the Caucasus Mountains an event happens that threatens to unravel all the couple hold dear.

“Can I kiss you?”

Review by Eddie on 6/09/2013

The Loneliest Planet is one of the most pretentious and self-important films you are likely to see this year. A film that wafts in its own impressiveness thinking that capturing stunning scenery is enough to cover up an almost non-existent plot and a bunch of characters that you’d be hard pressed to find a single redeeming quality in. So why was Loneliest given so many critical lauding’s upon release last year?

The above question is something I cannot provide an answer to sadly for my trek through Loneliest was an arduous one that I tried hard to find a positive in, an effort that was in no way rewarded. Loktev’s film really was made or broken on the investment towards its two main characters in the young and engaged Alex and Nica. Bernal does his usual workmanlike job and Furstenberg has her moments but Alex and Nica are nothing more than hipster hard-core traveller wannabes that invoke no real relatability and reek (as the film does) of a higher purpose.

Loneliest is based on a short story by Tom Bissell and it’s clear from this movie that it should of stayed that, short. Loktev’s film takes the Gerry/Elephant approach of less is more letting scenes play out in sometimes arduous long takes as the central players walk around doing not much at all. The less is more approach can work wonders on a film when there are emotional pay offs to back up the long haul or images that are matched by dialogue, Loneliest just doesn’t provide anything to back up its approach which makes the film fall from the half-way point.

I wanted to like The Loneliest Planet, I had heard and read many good things about the film. While the film is unique and in a word fresh it is also achingly stale. If your idea of a good time is spending almost 2 hours with a group of travellers that to me seem like horrible travel companions then please rush out and find a copy of this film, if however you feel like something similar and less painful go and stare at a mountain for 2 hours. Trust me it’s a much more rewarding and eerily similar proposition to The Loneliest Planet.

P.S – If someone found some deep hidden meaning/psychological payoff in this film please let me know!

1 scenic mountain out of 5

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6 responses to “Film Review – The Loneliest Planet (2011)

  1. I don’t know. I liked the film. But I went in not knowing anything about it. Plus, I kinda have a thing for a film with any sort of “journey” in it, and as long as it’s not a “Road Trip” movie, it’s a pretty easy sell on me, since I don’t see to many of them. It’s sure no “Stand By Me”, but, I still liked it. But I think I got used to the nothing much happening by watching “Survivorman” walking around a small campsite talking about survival stuff, nothing or whatever over the years on Discovery. So, I’m biased, I suppose.

    But I can see why you, or others wouldn’t like it, based on this review. It certainly doesn’t have the most likable characters with amazing charisma!

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