Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland. The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini.Written by
Once Ben Foster had signed onto the film, he and Debra Granik worked together to remove around 40% of the dialogue. This was to make the film have less exposition and feel more realistic. See more »
The chessboard is set up incorrectly. Chessboards should have a white square at the bottom right (from each player's perspective). See more »
What's your favourite color?
What's *your* favourite color?
[They sit for a moment]
What was my mother's favourite color?
Maybe I learnt it from her. I wish I could remember her.
She'd wish for that, too.
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Keep an Eye on America
Written by Joey Holiday and Vicky Holiday
Performed by Joey Holiday
Courtesy of Truck It Records See more »
Leave No Trace poignantly flourishes in depicting a dynamically engrossing family bond.
Indie dramas just keep getting better as the years go by. The freedom to be experimental whilst conveying a captivating story makes for a vastly enthralling cinematic experience than the average Hollywood drama. It's no different here, with director Granik perfectly balancing emotional heft with relentless drama. A father and his young daughter live in isolation within a shrouded urban forest, where one mistake leads them into being found by the local authorities. The eloquence and minimalism in Granik's screenplay allows the story to be told visually. The peaceful environment and rural American culture juxtapose the bustling highways of urban society. Yet they complement each other to create an ecosystem for humanity. The same is applied to this relationship. The father, fearful of being discovered and conforming to the aristocracy of modern civilisation, contrasts with his daughter who yearns for environmental stability. After experiencing a glimpse of normality, she envies them. However, it's the bond between them that truly captivated me. They never argue. They never bicker. They understand one another. Mistakes are forgiven, opportunities are seized. It was honestly beautiful to watch. Foster (who is becoming rather commendable with his work) and McKenzie were sensational together, feeding emotions through just their eyes. Granik utilises plenty of horizonal techniques to illustrate these two characters amongst the overwhelmingly luscious foliage. McDonough's cinematography was gorgeous, bountiful of green filters and natural lighting. My only gripe is the lack of backstory, particularly with the mother, which would've elevated the emotional response for the story's conclusion. But what I really appreciate is the unobtrusive approach to what could've been a sensationalistic plot, and the lack of pretentiousness further cements Granik as a mature director who really should be directing more films. A near perfect drama with outstanding performances that deserves your undivided attention.
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