Review: Leave No Trace


Title: Leave No Trace
MPAA Rating: PG
Director: Debra Granik
Starring: Thomasin McKenzie, Ben Foster, Jeffery Rifflard
Runtime: 1 hr 49 mins

What It Is: Tom (McKenzie) and her father Will (Foster) live life under a shroud of shrubbery and darkness in a nature reserve in Oregon. When Tom’s mistake leads to their discovery they now have to make it in “the real world” but something calls to Will. The wild perhaps? Whatever it is it is obvious there’s trauma affecting him and that living this way is his only manner of coping. Either way as Tom grows into a young lady this might not be the life she can continue to lead.

What We Think: Our two lead performances here are not only fantastic but the glue the holds this entire thing together. Granik tends to direct this sort of film with the necessary subtle touch. Look at something like Winter’s Bone. Much like in that film she directs a very young actress and gets a stunning performance out of her. Ben Foster is his usual fantastic self. I mean this is a guy that I find to be one of this generations best character actors. Don’t believe me? Fight me. Granik writes a script that pardon the pun is down to the bone. Simple easy storytelling that isn’t easy to wrangle seems to be her specialty.

Our Grade: A, This film left me somewhat broken and trust me it will do the same to you. It builds and builds itself into this honest portrayal. One of loss, one of trauma, one of heartbreak. Something that all the while keeps you gripped hoping one particular thing will happen. Hoping it will. I, of course, recommend this film and you need to see this as soon as you possibly can. It will change you.

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