You know that awful feeling in a relationship where you screwed up, you know you screwed up, and there’s nothing you can do about it? Now amplify that by changing your setting to the remote Caucasas Mountains of former Soviet state Georgia, throw a life-or-death situation into the mix, and add an unmovable weight of guilt to your hiking pack. Stew on that for a bit and you get The Loneliest Planet.
Everything’s fun and games for Alex and Nica, a couple who are preparing to get hitched, as they travel Georgia and hire a local to guide them through the mountains. As the film progresses, you’re privy to their inside jokes and romantic games. Everything is going swimmingly until someone screws up. The rest of the film is mostly spent in uncomfortable silence, something that you feel yourself as you watch the movie.
I can’t say for certain if writer/director Julia Loktev based The Loneliest Planet on Ernest Hemingway’s The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber but the famous short story was all I could think about as I watched the film. The parallels are that obvious. This, of course, isn’t a bad thing. The film itself may make for uncomfortable viewing for some, with its limited dialog and long stretches of silence, but this only intensifies the guilt and general awfulness felt by future husband Alex.
It’s not so much an exercise in plot as it is in feeling. One awful, awful feeling.
‘The Loneliest Planet’ is playing at Royal Oak’s Main Art Theatre.
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