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Nomadland (2020)

Director:
Chloé Zhao

COUNTRY
USA

Genre
Drama

NORWEGIAN TITLE
Nomadland

RUNNING TIME
108 minutes

Producer:
Frances McDormand
Peter Spears
Mollye Asher
Dan Janvey
Chloé Zhao

Screenwriter:
Chloé Zhao


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Fern Frances McDormand
Dave David Strathairn
Linda Linda May -
Swankie Charlene Swankie -
Bob Wells Bob Wells -
Peter Peter Spears -
Derek Derek Endres -
James Tay Strathairn -

 

Review

This unremarkable film about a remarkable lifestyle is intriguing, but leaves a lot to be desired both thematically and artistically. Frances McDormand plays a woman who after losing her job and husband, her two beacons in life, takes odd jobs and seasonal labour while living out of her van. She finds what looks to be likeminded people in a Arizona camp organized by notable vandweller Bob Wells. And as we follow her there, director Chloé Zhao seems to be introducing us to the way of life and a community suggested by the film's title. Zhao has a naturalistic approach which gives her scenes a sense of urgency, but the craftsmanship is sloppy. The scenes don't connect together; they have no internal structure, something which often leaves them flat. Plus, and more pressingly, for a film about a nomadic lifestyle, the picture is weak at portraying the spatial aspect. We get no sense of the road, of the distances travelled, or of the spaces Fern and her friends inhabit. The film's appreciation of nature and landscapes resembles a postcard – beautiful but flat. In other words, Zhao leaves much of the work to McDormand, who interprets the role of Fern with her usual zealousness and creates a layered character whom I suspect would have been more interesting to get to know at another time in her life. Nomadland is a useful character study of a restless woman who cannot quite seem to find her new place in life after a heartbreaking upheaval. But it's a disappointing and somewhat clumsy peek into the nomadic lifestyle.

Copyright © 04.08.2021 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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