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LEAVE NO TRACE

SYNOPSIS:
Will (Ben Foster) and his 13 year old daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) live in isolation in the splendid, vast urban park in Portland, Oregon, until they are accidentally discovered.

Review by Louise Keller:
The middle of a forest in Portland is the unlikely setting for this touching story from writer director Debra Granik as it explores the bond between father and daughter. Here, Ben Foster's troubled war veteran, Will and his teenage daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie) live in their own little bubble outside society. Just as Granik showed her eye for spotting talent when she cast Jennifer Lawrence in the tough drama Winter's Bone (2010), spring-boarding her to stardom, she has found a gem in the talented New Zealand teenager, whose performance is nothing short of astonishing.

Granik's direction is sensitive, while the sparse, but moving screenplay draws us in from the outset, when we discover their forest camp deep within a world of green. Foster absorbs his character, delivering depth with minimalist power in his haunting portrayal of Will, the troubled war veteran.

Young Tom has adapted to the isolated lifestyle and we later discover she has been well taught by her father. Their relationship is deeply rooted, perhaps in unstated drama of the past. His nightmare featuring the harsh sounds of an approaching helicopter is our only clue ... The performances are superb; the dynamic intense.
The mainstay of our emotional journey is the way the two have to adapt as their isolated camp is discovered and they are moved back close to normal society. The triggering of major changes is what tests their bond and as a consequence, cracks appear. One of the film's most affecting lines is when Tom tells her father: 'The same thing that's wrong with you isn't what's wrong with me.'

This is a film that appeals to an intelligent audience and one who appreciates arthouse films and powerful emotional journeys. Production elements are excellent and I love the denseness of the green forest that has been home to this father and daughter, which in turn reflects the denseness of their relationship.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

LEAVE NO TRACE (PG)
(US, 2018)

CAST: Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Ben Foster, Jeffery Riffland, Spencer S. Hanley, Dale Dickey, Jeff Kober, Dana Millican

PRODUCER: Anne Harrison, Linda Reisman, Anne Rossellini

DIRECTOR: Debra Granik

SCRIPT: Debra Granik, Anne Rossellini (book by Peter Rock)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael McDonough

EDITOR: Jane Rizzo

MUSIC: Dickon Hinchliffe

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Chad Keith

RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 23, 2018







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