Leave No Trace review – flawless, deeply affecting

Leave No Trace review – flawless, deeply affecting

- A tale of a father and daughter living off the grid in the forests of the Pacific north-west of the US proves the perfect material for Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik.

- Adapted from Peter Rock’s novel My Abandonment by Granik and regular co-writer/producer Anne Rosellini, Leave No Trace (which has its roots in a true story) unites several thematic strands that run throughout the director’s work.

- Having examined the lives of disenfranchised veterans in her 2014 documentary Stray Dog, Granik here cites several real-life accounts of post-combat trauma as “inspirational source materials”, alongside readings from Henry David Thoreau and the journals of Richard Proenneke.

- Yet crucially both Rock and Granik also acknowledge Shakespeare’s The Tempest as an archetypal template that offers an insight into the true heart of this quietly powerful film.

- The film’s opening act boasts minimal dialogue (“Nice work”; “Thank you”), while talk of a mobile phone further down the line prompts Will to note significantly: “We always managed to communicate without all that.”