Leave No Trace - This Movie Rocks
Dir: Debra Granik
Starring Ben Foster, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Dale Dickey
As she did so well with Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik displays a strong affinity for her on-screen locations, and a way of giving them a prominent role in her movie. She also has a knack for casting talented young women. Here we have Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie (following in the cinematic footsteps of a certain Jennifer Lawrence) as the teenage daughter of damaged army vet Ben Foster. Together they live under the radar and off the grid in the wilds of a national park in Portland, until the authorities get hold of them and attempt to normalise them into the rest of society.
What follows is a delicate look at a father-daughter relationship, as well as a glimpse of those living on the edges in general (many of them homeless vets) that once again conveys Granik’s extreme empathy with her characters.
The movie is quietly incidental for the most part – even a potential tragedy is side-lined into another community-led vignette – and all the stronger for it. Foster supplies the quiet intensity required, but it is McKenzie who delivers the movie’s sweetness, its heart and ultimately its lasting power.
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