The film focuses on a Will (Ben Foster) and his 13-year-old daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie). The two are currently living in a way that they feel is perfect- hiding away and permanently camping in a forest located somewhere in Oregon.
As the film opens up, we gain a greater understanding of Will and Tom’s day to day life, and you know what, it’s not half bad- not paying any bills, working or stressing about whatever you usually do in day to day life. These two don’t have of these sort of problems. From the word go, I did have a natural curiosity and many questions as to how these two even got to this point in their lives.
To matters more interesting, while life is good and peaceful, one mistake is made which will change both of their lives permanently.
Without giving you any film spoilers, I will proudly admit that I found this film somewhat unpredictable, and I was curious to know how the film would wrap up. The film’s performances are outstanding and rather convincing as these two portray father and daughter. Director Debra Granik has successfully created many powerful moments of suspense and tension while maintaining a G rating on this film.
The film’s audio track is also something praiseworthy. Many shots are located within a forest, and the detail that is captured is unreal. Within a matter of moments of the film starting, it didn’t take long to feel like I was on the same journey and sharing the same struggles as our main leads.
Overall, Leave No Trace is gripping, intense, dramatic and suspenseful—all of these elements achieved with a G rating which is rare to see in cinema today. I love the film’s concept, and I can’t recall anything like it in previous films. There’s also some incredible performances to witness in this heartfelt film. I would have enjoyed knowing a little more in regards to specific character details which the film prefers to keep to itself. If some of the character details like this were to have been more defined, this film would have been a complete knock out in my eyes.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden