There are many possibilities being told in movies about the distant future. However, many of them fail to deliver its point to the audience, largely due to poorly written scripts. But that negative fact seems to have passed Patricia Rozema’s INTO THE FOREST, as it certainly has something interesting to offer; the massive power outage, its aftermath, the two sides of human nature, one of which is savagery, brutality and the instinct for survival. But the main plot is the relationship between two sisters, who must re-evaluate not only their relationship, but their possible vision of the future, which can end up being scary and dark.
The film begins with a high-tech dominated world where people, which is not a big surprise, can’t imagine their lives without contemporary technologies, internet, cable tv and many other features they enjoy in their daily life. A single father, Robert (Callum Keith Rennie) is taking care of his two daughters, Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) and Nell (Ellen Page). Everything goes perfectly well for them until the massive power outage that leaves the entire western side of America in darkness.
After a few days pass, things go pretty well until the days turn into weeks, and the sanity of people turn into insanity and madness. After an accident that leave the sisters alone in their house, they must find a way to develop or improve their skills that will help them from not starving to death. But at some point, Eva and Nell will face the biggest challenge that will help them get much closer to defeat the loneliness and danger that may knock their door any time.
Rozema’s film is well narrated, but mainly, it’s the performance of two female leading actors that make it worth watching. While Ellen Page already has a huge drama background, there is no surprises in her ability to perform difficult characters. But it’s Evan Rachel Wood who truly shines here. Her Eva is a young woman who gets ready for her audition. Music gives meaning to her life. However, the turning point for Racheal Wood is when she demonstrates an incredible acting ability in one particular scene that I rather not write it here, but leave it for you to watch. The directing approach in that scene is impressive when the camera keeps focusing on her face, while the actor does everything else in one single shot.
In conclusion, INTO THE FOREST is more of a character study film, rather than a story of survival. It’s about the relationship between Nell and Eva, and their struggle while the world they know remains in the dark. It’s about hope, and not giving up until a miracle arrives. However, in their case, it’s their bond that can’t be broken or destroyed no matter what difficulties they must face.