Rated: R for a scene of violence involving rape, language and some sexuality/nudity. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: July 29, 2016 Released by: A24 Films
No, this isn't a variant on the Rob Marshall musical film but a fairly sensitively drawn apocalyptical drama from Canadian director Patricia Rozema (Mansfield Park) set in a subliminal looking Pacific Northwest.
Into The Forest, suitable summer counter programming fare, speaks more of loss and resumption in what feels more like a coming-of-ager starring Ellen Page (Freeheld, X-Men Days of Future Past) and Evan Rachel Wood (The Ides of March, The Wrestler) as siblings Nell and older Eva, respectively.
Nell's working on getting into university and a creative Eva is preparing for a dance audition, but both aren't really copacetic that cool widower dad Robert (Callum Keith Rennie of Fifty Shades of Grey) has them in a plush home out in a rural setting.
The lensing helps the intimate, gripping and finally tense situations take hold after a vague ecological catastrophe resulting in widespread power failure. Not to mention a haunting aura and a tight, well-staged uncomfortably abusive situation that shakes these young women to the core.
Into The Woods wouldn't work without Rozema (who's worked strongly in the past with established actresses like Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore) having the pragmatic Page and more desperate Wood (so good awhile back in Thirteen opposite Holly Hunter) develop a convincing sibling bond. Once they have to fend for themselves after an unforeseen accident when out to procure food and supplies in broken-down stores you can begin to realize an important sisterly bond gestating. Even if the script isn't always as sharp as it could have been, Rozema and her actors, including support from Max Minghella, Wendy Crewson, and Michael Eklund keep it more thrilling and relevant than expected.
|Into the Forest||B||B|