Leave No Trace (2018)

Director: Debra Granik

Writer: Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini (Screenplay) Peter Rock (Novel)

Starring: Thomasin McKenzie, Ben Foster, Jeff Kober, Spence S Hanley


Plot: A father and his thirteen year-old daughter are living an ideal existence in a vast urban park in Portland, Oregon, when a small mistake derails their lives forever.


Runtime: 1 Hour 49 Minutes


There may be spoilers in the rest of the review


Verdict: Moving Struggle


Story: Leave No Trace starts as we meet Will (Foster) and his daughter Tom (Mckenzie) who live in the urban park in Portland Oregon, away from people quiet secluded life, where they only venture into the town when they need supplies.

The perfect life changes when the police arrest them sending them through a homing agency which places them in a remote location where Will must work and Tom is encouraged to enrol in school despite her being highly educated, we watch to see how they can adapt to this new lifestyle.


Thoughts on Leave No Trace


Characters – Will has chosen to raise his daughter away from society, living in the woods of a national park, he believes this is the right decision for her and this does seem to be for his own problems with the world, he can’t adapt to the new life offered to him, risking both their lives when he head back out to the wilderness. Tom is the daughter that enjoys the life her father has given her, but it is the only one she has ever known, when she learns of the new life offered, she does want to take the chance on it, making friends and even trying school. It is the bond she has with her father that truly holds her back.

PerformancesThomasin McKenzie is fantastic in the leading role, she has easily made herself a star with this performance which is filled with loyalty to her father and confusion about where the right place for her is to be. Ben Foster once again excels in a leading role of this film, he shows that he is one of the best actors working today and one that doesn’t always get the praise he deserves.

StoryThe story shows a father and daughter living off the grid due to the problems in the father’s life after his time in the military. Where their home is taken they must learn to work in a normal society or face being split up. We see how Will can’t cope with this new life, while Tom is open to the change she is seeing from a new opportunity in life, which leads us to the ultimate decision needing to be made between the two. You can see why this clearly is being likened to ‘Winter’s Bone’ because of the bleakness involved in the world they have between them. It does look at how the re-homing system treats the American people that seem to know where and feel comfortable in the situation they are in. the key part of this story is that fact we have no villain to be seen, this does help tell the human story being told.

SettingsThe film does show us beautiful settings for the events to take place, the problem with this comes from the fact if you don’t know your states you won’t be able to pinpoint how far anyone travels.

Scene of the Movie –
The final shot.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not knowing the locations on a map.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderfully directed movie that takes us on a journey to see where people can go to find a home even if it isn’t in the normal locations.


Overall: Powerful and moving drama




ABC Film Challenge – Comedy – E – Exit Wounds (2001)

Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak

Writer: Ed Horowitz, Richard D’Ovidio (Screenplay) John Westermann (Novel)

Starring: Steven Seagal, DMX, Isaiah Washington, Anthony Anderson, Michael Jai White, Bill Duke, Jill Hennessy, Tom Arnold


Plot: Orin Boyd, a tough cop in an inner-city precinct discovers a web of dirty cops and corruption.

Tagline – This Is Gonna Hurt

Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Seagal Action 101


Story: Exit Wounds starts when tough police officer Orin Boyd (Seagal) prevents an assassination attempt on the Vice President against orders from his superiors and Secret Service. This loses him his job at his prescient and being sent to a rougher one where new Captain Annette Mulcahy (Hennessy) sends him anger management.

When Orin starts investigating a known gangster Latrell Walker (DMX) he is assigned a partner in George Clark (Washington) and the two only honest sounding cops trying to bring him down and uncover the dirty cops in the force.


Thoughts on Exit Wounds


Characters – Orin Boyd is a tough no nonsense cop that will always run in first to do the right thing for people in danger, he doesn’t like dirty cops or criminals or partners and will go all out to bring down the criminals. Latrell Walker is the criminal that Orin is tracking, he is a genius, but not everything about what we learn about him is what it seems on the outside. George Clark is the partner that gets forced onto him, he has a family and just wants to do the right thing but could easily be another one of the dirty cops. We do meet plenty of cops that are dirty through the film, we see many different clichés for the genre in our characters too.

PerformancesWe know what Steven Seagal is capable of as an actor, he can handle the fighting fine, but when it comes to the line delivery he isn’t the best, this is typical for what we know about him. DMX was trying to make an acting career and he does show promise in a time when all musicians seemed to want to get into acting. When we look at the rest of the cast they are what we need in the film without anyone standing out too much, Anthony Anderson gets the funniest moments in the film.

StoryThe story here follows a tough cop trying to bring down criminals and corruption from within the force. This does play into Seagal’s strengths where he gets to beat people up and be the good guy doing this. We have a big third act twist which does turn the film on its head and doesn’t really get implied early on which is nice. By the end this will have checked the boxes for a fun easy to watch action film and that is all we want from a story at times

Action/Comedy/CrimeThe action is short fight sequences, shootouts and chases sequences which are fun to watch with plenty going on through them making the action all we want. The comedy is in small moments and does give a couple of laughs with Anderson being the one with the most. The crime world we enter is everything we know when it comes to corrupt cops which is fine for the film.

SettingsThe film brings us to Detroit with crime running through it, we know it is generic for crime world, so this works for the film.

Scene of the Movie –
Seagal versus White sword fighting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The comedy works, but can takeaway from the main story.

Final ThoughtsThis is a standard Seagal action film, it is easy to watch and will keep you entertained throughout.


Overall: Simple to watch action film.