Toronto Film Fest Review of Human Traces
“A sub-Antarctic research station is the setting for Human Traces, a twisty psychological thriller from promising New Zealand director Nic Gorman,” Richard Kuipers writes in a review for Variety.
“Isolation is anything but splendid in Human Traces, a [feature-length] about married scientists whose lives are upended when a handsome newcomer arrives,” Kuipers continues.
“First-time feature writer-director Gorman has delivered a suspenseful, engrossing and very well performed mood piece that marks him as a talent worth watching. Traces ought to enjoy a strong festival run followed by wide online distribution.
“From the very first images of fictional Perseverance Island (actually a combination of locations on the far south coast of New Zealand) it’s easy to believe that its howling winds, heaving seas and driving rain would be enough to test the mental fortitude of just about anyone willing to spend time there.
“The film’s strong sense of place is critical in keeping viewers engaged during an opening half-hour that presents major turning points from almost the entire story and is designed to make much more sense when events are replayed from different perspectives.
“[Vinnie] Bennett justifies his rising-star status at this year’s Toronto [International Film Festival] with a smouldering performance as the enigmatic and potentially dangerous interloper, Pete. [Mark] Mitchinson nails it as the self-centred academic, Glenn, and [Sophie] Henderson [as Sarah] gives a finely judged turn as an idealist whose paradise threatens to become her prison.
“John Chrisstoffels’ stark imagery of crashing waves and windswept terrain turns the island into a threatening fourth character. Eerie soundscapes by composer Stephen Gallagher contribute effectively to the mood of mounting menace. All other technical contributions are top-shelf.”
Original article by Richard Kuipers, Variety, September 27, 2017.