(This is Leave No Trace film review, which is a film based on a novel)
Leave No Trace is a film that is directed by Debra Garnik and is also written by her and Anne Roselline. The whole premise is adapted from a novel titled My Abandonment by Peter Rock.
It stars Ben Foster as a dad with PTSD and Thomasin McKenzie as his daughter. While these actors are incredible in their own right, another thing that makes this film stand out is: 100% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes. It is the 2nd most reviewed films in their database that manage to achieve the very elusive full score!
But enough about this and we shall take a look below to see if they are truly deserving of that awesome score, read on the Leave No Trace film review below!
An Iraq War veteran, Will, has always lived in a public park with his young daughter, Tom, and they try to stay away from civilisation as far as possible. That is, until they are caught by the authorities and be forcefully put into social services. While Tom seems to adapt to her new life quite well, her dad finds it impossible. The two’s relationship starts to become strained, what choice will they choose? Civilisation or a parent-child love?
Leave No Trace Film Review
The premise is actually fairly simple. Most of the time the film shows us just the father and daughter going through their lives and adapting(or at least trying to) their new life in civilisation. It’s a matter of perspective as we are shown the reason of why each of them have chosen to embrace a different direction.
What I like is that all of these are done realistically. There are none of those ‘dramatic’ moments that may seem to be a common trope among those films in this genre. Everything is kept low-key, and it feels believable and you start empathising with the characters because of that.
Finally, there are no plot twists or whatsoever. This I feel that it works in its favour, as any sudden twist will just ruin the whole film’s direction and atmosphere. Though, I kind of have to criticise it due to the very simple premise that can feel boring to those that hardly watch this kind of drama film.
Surprisingly, the pacing of the film is not as slow as I expected. Normally, such drama film takes its time to introduce the characters and the story world… that it could drag the beginning way longer than it should. But Leave No Trace eschews that in favour of realistic pacing.
I feel that the pacing is pretty well done as it allows me to keep watching without feeling bored in between.
The story moves and flows evenly to just keep us interested in the character’s predicament or their next moves. I feel that the pacing is pretty well done as it allows me to keep watching without feeling bored in between. Though I have to admit some parts in the middle portion can be a tad slow.
The characters are the main stars of the film. In fact, these two main characters are acted quite well by the actors themselves. The father with PTSD feels real and natural, like any others with similar problems. Ben Foster does have a knack for this kind of believable acting.
He is able to act it out without relying on some common stereotypes of PTSD sufferers. All of this actions are done through body languages and his face expressions. And the daughter is also pretty good on her own. The father daughter pair is probably one of the most believable in all the films I have seen. They are just that good.
And when they have their conflict, they are done peacefully and realistically. There are no dramatic actions taken by any, and none of the Hollywood cliché scenes. The duo also embodies two different values: freedom and conformity. And these are shown subtly through actions and dialogues.
The soundtrack is sublime. And peaceful. With plenty of ambience sound that fits the atmosphere and place that the characters stay in. All in all, they are not the best, but does help the film to reach that level of atmosphere filmmaking without relying on extreme drama.