“LEAVE NO TRACE” – 9
In two words: Classic drama
If you are looking for a movie that has lots of action, guns, chases, and car crashes, skip this film. As well, if you’re interested in comedy, violence, foul language, sexual inferences, war, peace, blaring music, sci-fi, horror, or mega-stars, don’t see this However, if you get hooked on deep drama, human struggles, the love between a deeply trouble father and his loyal teenage daughter, who share a life of total independence and isolation…and all the difficulties and emotions that derive from there, don’t miss this movie.
The story focuses on two characters. Will is a soft-spoken, deeply troubled former veteran who struggles with a form of PTSD that compels him to live a life of isolation. He also is the widowed dad of a teen girl called Tom to whom he is devoted but flawed by his inability to cope with society in general. So, they live off nature, in the parks and forests of Oregon until, one day, they are discovered by park officials, separated and brought into the concrete jungle of “civilization” to be subjected to “civilizing.”
After days of tests and interviews, satisfied that Will is not dangerous in any manner, the twosome is afforded a temporary home, but after a short time, they stealthily manage to escape and resume life in the woods. This leads to a number of miscues in the venture, though daughter, Tom, is introduced to living among wilderness folks who happily reside in campers, where love abounds, harmony prevails and strangely, live music is part of the culture.
One can imagine the diametric problems this created between father and daughter, who love each other, but cannot resolve the needs and goals for each other. We’ll save the rest of the story for the viewer.
Acting is superb, as Will is played by journeyman actor, Ben Foster, and Tom is played by New Zealand-born Thomasin McKenzie, who is actually 18 in real life. Supporting actors are equally skillful whose accents and persona definitely fit the scenario.
The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini.
After 92 reviews, Leave No Trace was given a 100% positive rating by Rotten Tomatoes, very rare indeed. I suspect, it was because it’s simply a good dramatic movie, no frills and no mega stars.
In terms of fine movie making, I give this a 9 out of 10.