Starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Rozema’s Into the Forest takes a unique approach to the near-future after a power plant suddenly gets shut down, thus setting millions without power. What sets apart Rozema’s film from other dystopian tales is her very attentive focus on her characters rather than what is going on with the rest of society. With the help of kinetic performances between Page and Wood, this story of two women trying to survive on their own in an ancient forest is elevated to something more engaging and rather emotional due to the sheer commitment from the two actresses. Page and Wood have phenomenal chemistry with one another, which is ultimately the staple for success in the film.
Rozema has much more success behind the camera than she does on the page. The script is so reliant on delivering exposition through its characters that it causes so many of these clunky scenes of conversation between Page and Wood. There’s so much in this film that could have been utilized in order to progress the storyline further and fill in the gaps of information, but Rozema fails to use these opportunities to her advantage, and instead just carries it all out on the page. This not only creates clunky scenes of conversation between the two actresses, but it also jumbles the smooth pace the Rozema is able to build up when working with her characters. With the help of stunning work behind the camera by Daniel Grant and the moody score from Max Richter, Into the Forest becomes what is, for the most part, an engrossing tale, even when the screenplay fails to deliver. Rozema offers a different perspective from what we are used to seeing in similar dystopian tales.