The Loneliest Planet

Director: Julia Loktev
Year Released: 2011
Rating: 3.0

An engaged couple (Gael García Bernal and Hani Furstenberg) go hiking with a guide (Bidzina Gujabudze) in Georgia's Caucasus Mountains and appear to be deeply in love and committed to each other, until an incident occurs while hiking - involving a pack of locals with rifles - and a split-second decision made by the Bernal character changes the nature of their relationship. Methodically paced and lovingly photographed (by Inti Briones), this requires its lengthy 'set-up' to establish the affection between the two main characters so it can show how that devotion is called into question - following 'the incident' it becomes a different movie with a different tone, as the tension between everything Bernal and Furstenberg becomes difficult and cringe-worthy to watch. It's a subtle, patient movie (not unlike Van Sant's Gerry a few years back), and one might argue it's a bit too mannered for its own good, but my real issue is how it ends - it leaves its two leads there, in the mountains, folding their equipment up, and while I'm assuming the couple will stay 'together' until the end of the hike, the exact nature of their commitment to each other for the 'long haul' is painfully ambiguous.