Leave No Trace

LetterboxD review link

I read Fourth of July Creek last year, a debut novel by Smith Henderson about a family living off the radar in the woods and running into trouble when they’re found out. It was a great read, engrossing throughout, and built from a place of empathy for each character even while it took each of them through the ringer. I thought of that book while watching this movie. This movie is slow, plodding, but never lets you give up your attention. The film-viewing experience is the equivalent of having a conversation with a slow-talker telling you a really interesting story.

Of the many wonderful choices Debra Granik made in this film, one of my favorites was that she didn’t dwell on the premise too much in the first act. She trusts that the viewer is intelligent enough to piece together where this film is starting from, and goes on to spend most of the runtime developing characters and moving the plot forward.