Review: “Into the Forest” offers a more tender, realistic take on the post-apocalyptic thriller

 

 
Overview
 

Title: Into the Forest
 
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Writer:
 
Actors: , ,
 
Genre: ,
 
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Direction
7.0


 
Acting
8.0


 
Plot
7.0


 
Execution
7.0


 
Total Score
7.3


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Posted July 29, 2016 by

 
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into the forest 1

 

How many different takes have we seen, on life, after the end of the world? Zombies, Aliens, Cannibalistic biker gangs, nothing but water and a crazy Dennis Hopper… We’ve seen it all. Well maybe not. Thanks to writer/director Patricia Rozema, I recently saw a new kind of post-apocalyptic film, that focuses more on the emotion involved in dealing with life without ameneties. More specifically the emotional connection, between two sisters who, after losing their father, must fend for themselves and rely on only each other if they are to survive a global (or at least nationwide) power outage, that leads to societal breakdown.

Rozema wisely forgoes showing us (or even explaining to us) what caused the power failure, and most of the chaos that ensues. Instead we spend most of the movie’s 101 minutes, with Nell (Page) and Eva (Wood), isolated in their mountain home, deep in the Pacific Northwest woods. Because of the tranquility of the setting and the quiet calm surrounding the women, the brief glimpses of what is going on in the outside world are even more unnerving. This is especially true, when unwanted visitors begin to show up at the house not only fear in the two sisters but also arguments, between them over how to handle each situation.

into the forest 2Most of the film’s focus though is centered on their adaptation into life sans technology. Going from internet-dependant, bickering siblings to resourceful, resilient women with an increasingly strong bond, to amateur survivalists the two go on a long (yet well-paced) journey together. The story has a handful of lulls, but they never detract from what is an emotional and heartfelt tale of sisterhood.

Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood are both given very demanding roles, physically and emotionally, and are both equal to the task. I was especially impressed with Ellen Page, who I always tend to think of as the cutesy, quirky jokester. In “Into the Forest”, she really shows off her acting chops, with a brave performance, the likes of which I hope to see more of from her. Evan Rachel Wood also gives a radiant performance, but one that is more singularly focused (for most of the film) on her dealing with the difficulty of being a dancer without access to music. Both women are great and definitely elevate the film.

“Into the Woods” deserves applause for quite a few things. Not only is it far different than any other film in it’s genre, but it focuses on elements that feel much more relatable than being chased by zombies or radioactive spiders. For me, it was a breath of fresh air and a pleasant surprise. I am interested to see more from Patricia Rozema, and only hope that she continues to have such uniqueness to her films.


MikeD

 


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