Leave No Trace review – deeply intelligent story of love and survival in the wild

Debra Granik’s complex study of an army vet and his daughter living in a vast public park is the film Captain Fantastic should have been Debra Granik is the exceptional film-maker who directed Winter’s Bone in 2010, launching the career of Jennifer Lawrence, and now she returns with this deeply intelligent, complex, finely tuned and observed movie, adapted by Granik and her screenwriting partner, Anne Rosellini, from the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock. Their new title alludes the rules of respect and care for the environment promoted by ecological campaigners: to minimise human impact on nature. Weirdly, this film initially reminded me of a fatuous and naive (and bafflingly overpraised) film called Captain Fantastic, which features Viggo Mortensen as a charismatic, disciplinarian dad who has taken his children to live with him in the wilderness. Leave No Trace is everything that that movie should have been: careful, realistic, with a sense of what is possible and what is at stake for those people who really do attempt to turn their backs on conventional living and also reject the stigma of homelessness — but what is also at stake for their children who have had no choice in the matter. Continue reading...

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