Fantasia Festival Review: Wildland

Blood is thicker than water and families have to stick together. You can’t choose the clan you’re born into but sometimes it can provide you with a safety net when all else fails. That’s not to say that everyone likes their relatives. The fact you come from the same lineage doesn’t mean you have anything in common or share similar beliefs. Indeed, some people just can’t wait to get away. In Wildland, a teenager must learn to fit in the hard way.

After her mother dies in a car crash, Ida (Sandra Guldberg Kampp) goes to live with her estranged aunt and cousins. It doesn’t take long for her to realise why her mum had broken off contact with that side of the family. Her aunt (Sidse Babett Knudsen) is the matriarch of the house and the local crime boss. A ‘business’ which she runs with the help of her ‘boys’, Jonas (Joachim Fjelstrup), Mads (Besir Zeciri) and the wayward David (Elliott Crosset Hove).

Riffing heavily on David Michod’s Animal Kingdom, Wildland is a powerful crime drama which examines blood ties and the bonds which keep people together. Jeanette Nordahl’s first feature, which literally translated means ‘flesh and blood’, focus on those connections between people which keep us together and dependent. It’s a tale of abuse, power and control. A strikingly confident debut from a director and star seemingly destined for much bigger things.

Wildland screened at Fantasia Festival.

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