Theory questions
Open thread

Topics for M 11/4

Here are possible topics for our discussion of Leave No Trace on M. Feel free to make additional suggestions or to start the conversation here.

  • Establishment of setting in the opening shots.
  • A related issue is the use of light and color.
  • Use of props to develop character.
  • Action and performance, particularly in terms of how Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie use their faces and bodies to communicate their place in the world.
  • Based on what we are shown in the first act of the film, what do you think we are supposed to think about how Will (Dad) and Tom live? How do you think these feelings are meant to change as the film progresses? Who did you identify with more, Dad or Tom? Why? Or is this a false choice? What did the filmmakers show you that persuaded you to feel this way?


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Katelyn Beard

I think it was an interesting choice to not have much dialog in the film, especially when the actress who played Tom had never acted before. Specifically the last scene when she "tells" him she is staying behind, this is all done with body language and emoting. I found myself more convinced by Will's persona than I was Tom's, but that does make sense when Ben Foster has more acting experience. It makes me wonder if they preferred an untrained actress as Tom, because they needed the rawness that someone with no training brings to a role.

Katelyn Beard

I was wondering about the scene where Will and Tom are at the VA office and Tom talks to a vendor who has a lock for a gun. The vendor mentions that the lock is to give people a moment to think before pulling the trigger. At first I thought this was foreshadowing to a possible suicide or shooting, but nothing seemed to come from it. Was this scene just a reminder of what veterans deal and struggle with or did I miss something?

Austin W Woodall

I was so incredibly impressed with Thomasins ability to portray wonderment and awe at these new things she has never seen.

Rylan Blair

Discussing the setting of the scene as a whole and how it adds to the feeling of the open/close effect of the shot was something this film did really well. When they were home in the woods they felt free in all of the open shots and when they visit the VA office the feelings of being restrained are very apparent

Ray Barton

I think it is very interesting how lighting and color play into the film itself because all of the scenes outside of nature, especially in Will's perspective, are extremely dull and dark, but then while he's in the woods he is outside of himself and the colors are lush and bright. I also think it is amazing how the film ended with Will walking off the beaten path and disappearing into the brush to metaphorically show how people who live on the margins can and are literally and figuratively invisible to those who reside outside the margins.

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