Eye For Film >> Movies >> Strayed (2013) Film Review
Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson
An intense note and a black background. It might be the wind, it might be breathing. A tiny figure stumbles across a landscape - a mountain fills the frame, a looming presence. The Highlands, far to the North of civilisation. The peaks are lost in mist and roiling cloud, and there are patches of snow.
A tiny figure stumbles across the landscape. These are not clothes to be out in, a thin yellow dress, red wellington boots. She runs, and along the fence, and the cars don't stop. In the lee of a rock she cowers, waiting.
He finds her.
The juxtaposition of extreme closeup, of eyes and lashes, sound veering from emptiness contemplating landscape to the ragged solidity of heavy breathing. A tiny figure lost in a landscape that overwhelms. A figure so small they would be lost on a domestic screen. A figure so small they may be lost in a domestic scene.
Call it suspicion. Call it tension. Call it achronological stumbling towards a truth, a suggestion, an oppressiveness. When he says to her "you must be freezing" we're all thinking it. Indeed, we're all thinking a few things.
He finds her.
The landscapes are so vast that the signs of habitation, of anthropogenic change are minimal, miniscule. Towards a farm house that's just another tumulus in some vast glacial field, a little more regular, a little more whitewashed, a little warmer. For now, a little more occupied. He lends her some clothes. There are questions about their origin, but the reply gives us more questions, no good answers. "She doesn't need them any more". There's more running. He runs. She runs. She runs. He runs.
Ian Waugh's film was inspired by a moment in the Highlands, while working on another film, seeing a runner in the distance - the landscape is key, that isolation. Julian Schwanitz's cinematography is from one of those picturesque Scotlands, the weightier ones - not shortbread tin, not Edinburgh-museum-bound oil-landscape, more alien, less civilised. The distances it depicts can just as easily exist between two people even when they're in the same car. When questioned he talked about wanting to explore "not expecting to find anything and finding someone", and in Strayed there's a definite sense of finding - a startling, stunning finding - an unknown someone, perhaps even an unknowable someone.
He finds her.Reviewed on: 08 Feb 2013