Human Traces

Posted Monday 03 Jul 2017

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Producer Nadia Maxwell and actor Sophie Henderson have helped bring this knotty psychological thriller, set on an isolated subantarctic island, to the big screen.

Human Traces
2017, 87 minutes
Director/Screenplay: Nic Gorman
Producer: Nadia Maxwell
With: Sophie Henderson, Mark Mitchinson

The feature debut from Kiwi writer-director Nic Gorman deftly pairs loaded suspense with slippery character study. The drama takes place 750 kms south of New Zealand, where husband-and-wife scientist team Sarah (Sophie Henderson) and Glenn (Mark Mitchinson) have been posted to monitor the ecosystem of a remote island. When a mysterious stranger named Pete (Vinnie Bennett) arrives, paranoia and deception begin to disrupt the order.

Splitting his film into three chapters, each told from a different character's perspective, Gorman delights in disorienting his audience. Like Kurosawa's Rashomon, each new act is designed to reassemble the last: no sooner have you sided with one character than you find your allegiance complicated by the next point of view. Beyond expertly deploying spilled secrets, climactic confrontations and washed-up corpses to dramatic effect, Gorman understands the humanity within the genre beats. This gripping examination of human behaviour cleverly reminds us that everyone is only the hero of their own story.