Hollow in the Land (CIFF 2017)

Following the murder of a man in a small town, Alison (Dianna Agron) must search around for her missing brother, who has almost instantly become the prime suspect. Over the course of the movie, Alison winds up not only trying to find her brother, but also solving the case—to try to prove his innocence. Over the course of Hollow in the Land, she encounters resistance from … pretty much everyone, but the police force in particular.

Whether or not she’ll find him—or, more specifically, find him alive—and whether she’ll be able to solve the murder take up the vast majority of the film, which plays as a rapid-fire mystery film that doesn’t have time for much else. After its opening couple of scenes, which deliver most of the information we need to know about our characters, it gets right into it and focuses almost solely on Alison and her plight. We’re given enough back story for Alison and her brother to make us care about what they’re going through, and the mystery is interesting enough to hold our attention. None of this is great or particularly special, but it’s good enough for what the movie is.

Those two elements are almost enough make Hollow in the Land a decent watch, especially on paper. What cements it as a worthwhile endeavor is the performance given by Dianna Agron. With so much of the movie focused on her, a poor job could have sunk the entire project. She’s up to the task, though, balancing a mix of desperation, determination, and damaged psyche. It’s a really good performance in a movie that needed it.

Conclusion: Hollow in the Land is a good mystery movie with a solid leading performance.

Recommendation: If mystery movies are your thing, Hollow in the Land is a good enough one to warrant a watch.

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