December 22, 2016 Into The Forest (Movie Review)
In today’s society, heavily relying on technology and the comforts of home, what would happen if it was all taken away? Released on July, 29, 2016 in the select US theaters, written and directed by Patricia Rozema, from the novel by Jean Hegland, Into the Forest explores the possible outcome of losing power, utilities, and all communication in a modern to futuristic world. Starring Ellen Page as Nell (Juno 2007, Inception 2010), Evan Rachel Wood as Eva (True Blood series, The Ides of March 2011), Callum Keith Rennie as Eva and Nell’s Dad (Memento 2000, The Butterfly Effect 2004), Max Minghella as Eli (Agora 2009, The Darkest Hour 2011), along with Michael Eklund as Stan (House of the Dead 2003, Watchmen 2009), the strong cast delivers believable emotions in this story of survival, hope, and determination.
In a house in the forest, miles away from the town, Nell is studying, Eva is practicing her dancing, and dad is working when the power suddenly goes out. Queuing the lights to come on by vocal command, the trio is met with darkness. Eva, upset from the silencing of her music, comes into the house from the dance studio panicked. Nell is upset that she cannot study, although Dad reminds her there are books. Dad, seemingly the prepared survivor-like figure, retrieves flashlights.
Further a testament to Dad’s preparedness, after trouble with the family Jeep, he procures an extra battery to start the car. When that fails, he has an inventive idea to get the battery charged. An interesting idea, it works and they travel to the town to purchase supplies.
Met by an armed employee, Stan, the family assure they have money to pay for the supplies needed. It is apparent looting has occurred and the town is already turning upside down due to the shortage of utilities. After being uneasy around Stan, the family get what they came for and head back to the house to wait out the blackout, but not before Nell meets her love interest Eli at a bonfire party.
After another few days without power, Dad comes to the rescue with a stock of mystery canned goods. The family get by, conserving food, reading, dancing to a metronome, and chopping wood to fuel the fireplace for heat and cooking. Things turn darker when Dad has an accident cutting a tree down. Losing blood much too fast, the girls unable to bring him anywhere, he tells them he would not make it, and to take care of each other.
The girls, now alone, are forced to part with him in the forest and try to survive on their own. Several months without power, the two learn to gather berries, make jams, dried fruits, and collect what the need to keep going. Of course in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic world, there are bound to be some issues, even isolated deep in the worlds. Put to the test to survive the elements, the challenge of taking care of themselves, and protecting themselves from harm, it is a back to basics tale questioning the conveniences of modern life.
With beautiful cinematography of the Canadian landscape by Daniel Grant and music composed by Max Richter, the movie pulls at the heartstrings of viewers. In a situation that is very realistic to a watcher, one cannot help but feel their pain, loss, and grief as they struggle to get by. Although, with so much ache, there is the glimmer of hope as they have each other, and that fuels the strength to continue on and search for a better place.
The terrifying aspect of Into The Forest lays in the fact that most in modern society would not have a clue how to take care of themselves if modern amenities vanished. A film that will keep the audience engaged from start to finish, it is a compelling look at life, family, and the will to survive. CrypticRock gives Into the Forest a 4 out of 5 stars.