Bitesize Bedsit: Leave No Trace (2018)
Bitesize Bedsit is a new format for the Cinema. Shorter reviews, designed to get more cinematic scrutiny out to you than the longer, twice weekly regulars- which will continue too. Bitesize Bedsit may not be all the time, but I hope it will add to the fun. It was going to be called Bedsit Quickie, but I couldn't inflict Bedsit Quickie: Leave No Trace on you. Cos I'm all growed up.
Leave No Trace has been critically lauded since its release last year, is hotly Oscar tipped and has an enticing trailer. From director Debra Granik (the excellent Winter's Bone) and starring one of my favourites, Ben Foster, I was keen to see it.
Foster may well be the most underrated actor in Hollywood. He's a guy who doesn't need the limelight, an actor who likes to take risks in his parts, and always gives everything to the role. Unsurprisingly, he is brilliant in Leave No Trace. Relative newcomer Thomasin McKenzie is also superb, as Tom, daughter to Foster's Will. The tiny nuclear family live wild in the forests. Caught by park rangers, they are then subjected to life “on the grid”.
While initially gripping and interesting, Leave No Trace's themes and storyline share far too many similarities with 2016's Captain Fantastic, but with none of the humour. Though I do understand Leave No Trace has no ambitions in that respect, it just felt tired and far too earnest. I my interest's half life was not long.
Legal and illegal, right and wrong, how to parent, whether the government should have say over everyone. Eventually I got bored and wished I'd just rewatched Captain Fantastic, which was much more vibrant, engaging, and ultimately moving.
Bedsit it? Lots of people clearly love Leave No Trace, perhaps you might too, but like a night in the woods it left me cold. 5/10