The “Hermit of Treig,” Ken Smith, lived alone for 40 years by a hole in the highlands in a hut he built himself, Phuong Lein said The guard. This “tender” film tells his story, portraying him not as an “eccentric recluse” but as a “gentle soul with a moving appreciation” for nature. Surviving in the wild, miles from the nearest road and without electricity, proves to be hard work: Smith catches fish, forages and chops his own wood – “no small feat for a man now in his 70s”. However, when he has a health crisis, the film’s soundscape of “babbling brooks and rustling trees” is replaced by the whirring of helicopter blades, and the focus shifts to how much longer he can survive off the grid. Still, director Lizzie MacKenzie’s film is a paean to the “simplicity of life” that feels “especially poignant in our hyper-connected age.”
With his “bright, bird-like eyes, untamed beard and boots that fall off his feet like banana peels,” Smith has always been a “fascinated subject,” Wendy Ide said in The Observer. This “lovable, compassionate” film also reveals he is a man of real talent: a writer as well as a “glorious” photographer whose thousands of nature images, some of which appear here, are “vibrant with life and love.” MacKenzie spent seven years getting to know Smith before letting her start filming, Alistair Harkness said The Scot, and “that shows in the loving bond formed as she gently pulls out his life story while questioning him about the challenges he faces” in the wild. The result is an “enlightening picture of what makes a fulfilling life”.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/arts-life/culture/film/956286/film-review-the-hermit-of-treig Film Review: The Hermit of Treig