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By Megan Bianco

Ben Foster is one of those actors, like Ralph Fiennes or Joaquin Phoenix, who has always done consistent, steady work. But for whatever reason or another, he’s always stayed under the radar. Foster’s career has progressed from starting as a child actor on Disney Channel to starring in teen movies to playing creeps and troubled men in dramas and indie films. His latest project, Leave No Trace, is just as intriguing, though slow-moving and with a new indie star on the rise.

War veteran Will (Foster) lives in isolation with his 15-year-old daughter, Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), in the Oregon wilderness. Things are moderately successful, with Will and Tom sleeping in tents, hunting their own food, reading books and playing board games. Until one day, the local authorities discover where they are, and they are forced to move into a neighborhood and live typically. Will isn’t interested in conforming, but Tom might be open to the new experience.

Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures
Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Leave No Trace is adapted from Peter Rock’s novel My Abandonment and directed by Debra Granik, who is famous for directing Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar-nominated breakthrough Winter’s Bone in 2010. McKenzie naturally has been getting comparisons to Lawrence with her recent performance, which is a bit of a shame, as the young teen’s performance is impressive enough to stand on its own, especially when you learn the actress is actually from New Zealand. Foster does great work as usual, but it’s McKenzie who carries and tells the story on her own.

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