Here are the quick movie reviews for “Lean on Pete”, “Leave No Trace” and “Blindspotting”.
Lean on Pete
A naturalistic economical tale, “Lean on Pete” continues Andrew Haigh’s hot streak of films. Haigh’s execution of realism continues to shine here as his use of long takes capture so many small character moments and some haunting loneliness. Just from the opening three-four minutes of the film, which features no dialogue, it sets the film up perfectly with a new door being opened for our lead character “Charlie”. From the surface this film could look like your clichéd coming of age drama about a boy and his horse, while the film is way more than that, as it is a detailed melancholic look at the contemporary American underclass.
Leave No Trace
One of the most intimate films I’ve seen in years, “Leave No Trace” is a new look at father-daughter relations. Debra Granik continues to show her expertise at creating environment here as she takes us to National parks and trailer park homes, without a single misstep. Granik has also given many actresses the launching pad to start their careers off. She first did it back in 2004 with Vera Farmiga in “Down to the Bone”, then in 2010 with Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone” and now with Thomasin Mackenzie here. Mackenzie brings so much wisdom to her character, “Tom”, as she lives in the wilderness with her Dad and learns to adapt to live with him in the real world as well. I also can’t go without mentioning the other brilliant performance in the film from Ben Foster, who plays Mackenzie’s father “Will”. Foster has shown in the past that he can play some crazy loose cannon characters, as seen in films like “3:10 to Yuma” and “Hell or High Water”, but here he takes on the complete opposite. As his character is a quiet understated veteran battling PTSD. “Leave No Trace” is a mesmerizing poetic father-daughter study that will likely break you with its raw emotion and intimacy.
A film full of intense emotion boiling in every scene, “Blindspotting” is chock full of ideas and themes. First off the two lead performances from Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal are both fantastic, as both of them bring so much ranging emotion to their characters. This film looks at multiple themes of gentrification, police brutality and some cultural approbation. This film also brings a melding of genres of comedy and intense drama, which leads into the negative in the film, that being that the film has trouble shifting back and forth with its genre and emotion. That being said this film does have a lot of positives. First off its social commentary works pretty well and when they complete there shift in emotion it can hit very hard. The film features many nightmare dream sequences that are quite brilliant that bring some of the most intense scenes I’ve seen all year. There are also some great confrontational moments in the film where the back and forth conversation from them works very well. Also there are many moments of this film where characters begin freestyle rapping and they are some of the best character moments I’ve seen all year, while also being some of the most original content I’ve seen all year.