The Loneliest Planet is an intriguing movie about a couple in love, hiking with a local guide through a pastoral landscape within the former Soviet state of Georgia. A.O. Scott of the Times provides a review I cannot improve upon:
Every step carries a premonition that something might happen, a sense of foreboding and latent violence that Ms. Loktev creates by amplifying ordinary sounds, applying small doses of portentous music and cutting abruptly between shots. Something eventually does happen. I can’t be more specific, partly because I don’t want to spoil a surprise and also because the specifics don’t necessarily matter.
Scott finishes by saying it “is gripping and haunting, but also coy and elusive.” I tend to agree with him. I was certainly not bored with this picture, but I was also, ultimately, disappointed. The payoff that I anticipated never arrived. Roger Ebert took a negative view:
Other events unfold, perhaps unremarkable in themselves, but accumulating into psychic baggage they must add to their backpacks. None of this is punched up dramatically; Loktev’s favorite visual is the long shot; she likes indistinct night scenes and often arranges the characters in widely spaced groupings. We understand things are happening under the surface.
All of this grows tiresome. We’re given no particular reason at the outset of “The Loneliest Planet” to care about these people, our interest doesn’t grow along the way, the landscape grows repetitive, the director’s approach is aggressively minimalist, and if you ask me, this romance was not made in heaven.
This is one of those movies that some will love and some will hate, or at least dislike. I’m somewhere in the middle. I can say that when I saw the preview for this, I knew I had to see it — the curiosity burned strongly in me. The official description of this film states that “a momentary misstep… threatens to undo everything the couple believed about each other and about themselves.” To me that’s an overblown statement, a promise of momentous consequences that never materializes. Hence my disappointment. I give a lot of credit for the novel approach of this film, but I can’t quite recommend. 5/10