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Independent Film Review – The Boy In The Woods

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Sometimes you’re surprised with a film because the trailer made you think you were going to see a comedy but all the laughs seem to have been used in the trailer…I’m looking at you, Downsizing. However, other times you walk into a film knowing exactly what you’re going to get; The Boy In The Woods is such a film. Films involving Nazis rounding up Jewish people tend not to have a lot of giggles in them and, obviously enough, you don’t get many laughs.

The Boy In The Woods is based on the true life memoir of Maxwell Smart. It tells the harrowing story of a young boy, Max (Jett Klyne), who is forced to fend for himself in the harsh wilderness during World War II. The film portrays the struggles of isolation, the constant threat of danger, and the resilience of a person under pressure. It is not an easy watch. It confronts the brutal realities of war and the fight for survival. However, it is also a testament to the power of hope and the enduring strength of the human spirit.

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Older Men Declare War But It Is The Youth That Must Fight And Die

Director Rebecca Snow crafts a visually stunning and emotionally resonant film. The young actor Jett Klyne delivers a powerful performance as Max, capturing his vulnerability and determination. The supporting cast, including Richard Armitage, adds depth and complexity to the story. This poignant drama isn’t just a survival story; it’s a tapestry woven with themes of resilience, the corrupting touch of war, and the enduring power of innocence. It also manages to transcend the limitations of its budget. 

The film centres on young Max, a Jewish boy forced to flee into the unforgiving wilderness of Eastern Europe during World War II. Klyne delivers a star-making performance, capturing Max’s vulnerability and fierce determination with heartbreaking honesty. Snow doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities Max faces – hunger, fear, and the constant threat of discovery. Yet, there’s a poetic beauty in the way she portrays the boy’s connection to nature. The lush forests become both a prison and a sanctuary, offering fleeting moments of solace amidst the encroaching darkness.

War Does Not Determine Who Is Right, Only Who Is Left

While the film excels at depicting the physical challenges of survival, it’s the emotional journey that resonates most. The ever-present fear of capture and the loss of innocence are etched on Max’s face. The supporting cast, including a gruff but compassionate woodsman played by Richard Armitage, add layers of complexity to the narrative. The Boy In The Woods doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war, but it avoids gratuitous violence. The true terror lies in the ever-present threat and the psychological toll it takes on Max. Snow masterfully balances moments of despair with glimmers of hope, reminding us of the tenacious spirit that allows humanity to endure. 

The Boy In The Woods is a powerful and moving film. It’s a testament to the talent of independent filmmakers and a reminder that sometimes, the most profound stories are born from the darkest of times. Highly recommended for those seeking a film that lingers long after the credits roll. However, it’s important to note that due to the mature themes and potential for violence, parental discretion is advised for younger viewers.  The Boy In The Woods was released on digital on 27th May 2024.

Grade: A-

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