Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



The phrase that comes to mind here is, “Yes … but.” Yes, it has a lot of plot holes … but not nearly as many as your average thriller. Yes, there are things that weren’t adequately thought out … but it’s miles above most thrillers. Yes, you’ll find yourself asking questions about why this, and not that … but that’s really because most of it is thought out well enough that these smaller details stand out. In short, yes, it’s not as good as if could have been … but I enjoyed the hell out of it. A 16-year-old girl has been raised in the north woods somewhere by her father, trained to be a killer, and to be utterly self-sufficient in survival skills. There is a reason for this. The two of them really are in peril if they should return to “civilization,” where some very uncivilized people are waiting for them, led by an almost comic-book sinister Cate Blanchett … but I can’t reveal the reason. And I have to say that the reason didn’t measure up to my hopes. Still, when she decides to leave, her journey is endlessly fascinating. She has literally never seen another person. She is a fountain of knowledge memorized from books, much of it outdated. She knows what electricity is, for instance, but she’s never seen an electric teapot, or an electric anything. And she is utterly deadly. You do not want to mess with her. She is wonderfully played by Saoirse Ronan (pronounced Sur-shuh; those crazy Irish, huh?) who really is 16. In the end, I suspect it all comes down to this: It is infinitely more interesting to see a 16-year-old girl kick ass than any dozen muscle-bound spies, cops, or superheroes. It just is.