Leave No Trace

Front Row at the Movies by Shirrel Rhoades

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Ever been up there in Forest Park near Portland, Oregon? One of the country’s largest urban natural preserves, this municipal park in the Tualatin Mountains just east of downtown Portland stretches eight miles across hillsides overlooking the Willamette River.

Walking through it, you really feel like you’re off the grid.

And you can be, as people discovered.

In 2004, authorities found a 53-year-old man and his preteen daughter living in the park under a tarp. The makeshift shelter was stocked with encyclopedias for homeschooling. They had been living undiscovered in the park for four years. Then one small mistake changed their life.

Peter Rock wrote a novel titled “My Abandonment” about the incident. That was made into a movie starring Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie as the father-daughter duo.

The movie — “Leave No Trace” — comes out into the open at Tropic Cinema.

The film’s director and co-writer is Debra Granik, celebrated for “Winter’s Bone,” the indie film that put Jennifer Lawrence on the map.

Foster is a very respected actor that you’ve seen in everything from “X-Men: The Last Stand” to “The Messenger.” You may recognize him from “Hell or High Water,” an excellent bank robbery movie.

McKenzie is a young New Zealand actress, the daughter of acting coach Miranda Harcourt. You may have seen Thomasin in “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” or the web series “Bright Summer Night.”

My take: I’d give “Leave No Trace” two thumbs up (because I have only two thumbs).

But don’t take my word for it. Based on 121 reviews, the Rotten Tomatoes website gives “Leave No Trace” a rating of 100 percent. Compare that with the recent John Travolta film “Gotti,” which received a 0 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating.

As for “Leave No Trace,” Rotten Tomatoes concluded that the film “takes an effectively low-key approach to a potentially sensationalistic story – and further benefits from brilliant work by Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie.”

See, told you.

Email Shirrel: srhoades@aol.com

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