In a summer that will be dominated again by mega-budget blockbusters, trying to pick out a movie or two (or even three) that offers something a little different from heavily edited fight scenes, numerous explosions, and the same characters we’ve seen several times before, is something that will probably require a little persistence. One movie that fits this particular bill is Leave No Trace, the latest drama from Debra Granik, the director of Winter’s Bone (2010). Adapted from the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock, the movie stars Ben Foster as Will, an ex-military man living in a Portland, Oregon forest with his thirteen year old daughter, Tom, played by Thomasin McKenzie. The pair eschew civilisation, and Will has educated Tom himself. Inevitably their “idyllic” lifestyle is discovered and they are forced into a “normal” life through the intervention of social services. Unable to adapt to their new lives, however, they decide to journey back into the forest.
A movie that looks to be engrossing due to the dynamic of the relationship between Will and Tom, and their commitment to each other, the trailer sets up a number of questions for the potential viewer to be thinking about ahead of seeing Leave No Trace – not the least of which is why are they in the forest in the first place – and it promises excellent performances from its two leads. As a substitute for the usual fare seen in our cinemas during the summer months, this has all the hallmarks of a movie that could quietly gain everyone’s attention, and prove to be an attractive, rewarding alternative to the flash, bang, wallop on offer pretty much across the board.