Dealing with the death of a parent can be difficult for anyone, but it is especially hard for a young boy. When Atticus’ mom, a very self-sufficient woman, suddenly passes away, he runs away from his New York state home in the Catskills and finds himself deeper in the woods, away from everyone who is searching for him. After roaming the forest alone, he meets a vagabond named Carter, with whom he forms a cautious partnership in order to survive. Atticus joins Carter in his life on the move, where they both begin to question the choices that they have made. Check out the new trailer:
The Cold Lands is a melancholy yet strikingly shot film that unfortunately leaves you feeling like something is missing. While the story itself is unique and creative, the acting abilities of the lead character look to be lacking in some areas. Silas Yelich, who portrays Atticus, is obviously a newcomer in the acting business but is not really able to emotionally express his characters feelings. Whether this is an aspect of purpose in the film, since many young boys at this age are not very expressive, or merely a poor performance is difficult to determine.
Lili Taylor, who plays Atticus’ mother, does a wonderful job at playing the hippie-esque mom, but her acting abilities will probably be underused due to her character’s untimely death. She teaches her son to be self-reliant and about resistance to the modern world of over-indulgence. We might see some of her ideals carried on in the film by Carter, whose aimless wandering also keeps him from living in an acceptable framework set by society. Carter, played by Peter Scanavino, could help to increase the pace of the movie with his charisma, but it still seems that there is more missing.
The characters of Atticus’ mother and Carter are what ultimately cause you to have that somewhat absent feeling, due to their stifling of the lead character. We’ll see if Atticus gets a chance to develop his own view of the world and make a sound decision solely on his own. There are moments when you wonder if deep down he actually wants to be part of the “modern world” full of computers and lift truck rentals, but the supporting cast shapes the mind of this young adolescent to the point where what he thinks is really just an extension of his mother and Carter’s views.
Writer/ director Tom Gilroy does do a good job at transporting you into a life much different than your own, making living in a small, shack-like home in the woods seem refreshing. He strives to embed the ideas of self-reliance and independence into the audience, which seem to stem from his own viewpoint on the world.
Even though the lead actor is unable to present a feeling without many words due to inexperience and the script suppresses the chance for Atticus to develop as his own person, The Cold Lands is still looks like an interesting story nonetheless. It is unique, ambitious and visually beautiful, hopefully resulting in a fulfilling performance.