Movie Mas­ter­piece

Forbes - - Fact & Comment -

For a su­perbly acted and im­pres­sively pro­duced movie, watch Leave No Trace, now avail­able on Ama­zon Prime, Google Play and Youtube, af­ter hav­ing ap­peared ear­lier this year at se­lected the­aters.

On the sur­face the story’s premise would seem un­promis­ing and prey to dra­matic props to get an au­di­ence’s in­ter­est. A fa­ther and his teenage daugh­ter are liv­ing un­de­tected in a pub­lic for­est out­side Port­land, Ore­gon. Will is a war vet­eran and a wid­ower who suf­fers from psy­cho­log­i­cal wounds. He wants no part of tra­di­tional so­ci­ety. His daugh­ter, Tom, is de­voted to her fa­ther, and they forge an ut­terly un­con­ven­tional life to­gether, to­tally im­mersed in na­ture. He home-schools her in his own way. No un­to­ward be­hav­ior is even hinted at. Although in­tense, Will is not an emo­tional time bomb but rather a lov­ing, trou­bled man liv­ing the only way he can af­ter what he’s gone through. Re­mark­ably, there are no grisly flash­backs, a tribute to the tru­ism that the un­seen can be more pow­er­ful than the seen.

Then, in­evitably, they are dis­cov­ered and come face-to-face with law en­force­ment and so­cial ser­vices.

Here is where the moviemak­ers as­tound you: There are no heavy-handed Dick­en­sian vil­lains cru­elly dis­rupt­ing an idyl­lic life, but in­stead all-too-plau­si­ble, well-in­ten­tioned in­di­vid­u­als try­ing to do right by both peo­ple.

The film skill­fully and with re­mark­able emo­tional sen­si­tiv­ity con­veys how the fa­ther will never ad­just, while de­pict­ing his cu­ri­ous daugh­ter dis­cov­er­ing a whole new and not un­wel­come world.

Leave No Trace is a pow­er­ful and wel­come ex­am­ple of true cine­matic ex­cel­lence on all lev­els.

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