Review in Brief: Leave No Trace (2018)

LEAVE NO TRACE is a small story with big themes and emotions. Nothing quite matches the film’s first act with father and daughter living in the wilderness, surviving, getting on but not really communicating before we’re hit with the stark contrast between the tranquility of nature and the excess noise of civilisation. Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) is young enough to adjust to a new life, being curious and optimistic by nature, whereas her dad Will will always be a damaged and vulnerable man who will never feel safe among others again. Who are we to judge what is the right way to live? The look of utter bafflement on Will’s face as he is tested by psychological profiling programme (which very quickly leaps to asking if he’s dong it “for The Prophet”) says it all really. The final act feels less organic and relies on a few too many coincidences, but the film remains a showcase for director Debra Granik and her talented actors. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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