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Review: The Loneliest Planet

By ANN LEWINSON  |  October 31, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars



Nica (Hani Furstenberg) and Alex (Gael García Bernal) are fit and fearless adventurers backpacking through Georgia's Caucasus Mountains until a split-second lapse of judgment calls everything they took for granted into question. What follows are mesmerizing long takes of silent, sullen steps over rocks (shot with remarkable stability), nights masterfully illuminated by a campfire's flames or a flashlight's beam, and tentative getting-to-know-yous with their guide (Bidzina Gujabidze). For her follow-up to Day Night Day Night, Julia Loktev and cinematographer Inti Briones have captured an otherworldly landscape with a paradoxical claustrophobia, the camera never rising above the mountains to that sheltering sky. Furstenberg mines every nuance of Nica's resentment, but it's at the service of the cinematic equivalent of one of those polished Iowa Writers' Workshop MFA gems of carefully observed moments, inflated to a scale the story can't justify.

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