by Andrew Parker, published on September 13, 2015|
In the not-too-distant future, a mysterious power outage has left the United States (and possibly the world) without any power whatsoever. As the blackout turns from days to months, sisters Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) are forced into fending for themselves at their father’s slowly crumbling home in the middle of the woods. With precious little gas, few people around (or at least ones they would want contact with, anyway) and almost no news of the outside world, pragmatist Nell and passionate Eva have to overcome sometimes violent disagreements and hardships to survive.
Based on the Jean Hegland novel, Into the Forest is the first theatrical feature from Canadian filmmaker Patricia Rozema since 2008, and while it isn’t exactly a full-on return to form, it’s a well acted, gorgeously shot, and often interesting take on a rather tired and clichéd sort of post-apocalyptic fable.
The film functions best as a look at humans trying to maintain civility and rationality in a crisis, and the fact that the story comes from the viewpoint of two strong-willed female leads goes a long way. The chemistry between Page and Wood often saves the movie from some of Rozema’s more suspect choices.
It’s quite a predictable affair, and most of the time it feels like the audience is simply waiting for the other shoe to drop, but with the exception of a few moments, Rozema and her leads keep things on track and consistently engaging.
Is Into the Forest essential festival viewing?
It’s not perfect, but it’s a fine addition to the usually testosterone driven post-apocalyptic genre.