We’re in Forest Park, an Oregon nature preserve somewhere near Portland in Debra Granik’s film “Leave No Trace,” based on a novel by Peter Rock, and written here by Granik and Anne Rosellini.

Will, (Ben Foster) a PTSD suffering combat vet, lives here in this emerald scene with his teenage daughter Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie).

It’s not a school outing nor a father-daughter picnic, Will and Tom live here. This is not a chapter of “Survival.” I repeat — they live here.

After what seems like hours, we look for a plot.

“Leave No Trace,” it seems, has none. It is packed with questions and no answers. Right away I hate that. No mother is mentioned. Death? Divorce? We’ll never know. Everything before we meet Will and Tom is a blank page.

What’s for dinner out here in the park? For the longest time we watch them forage for mushrooms, chomp on nasturtium leaves and other edible plants.

There is no idle chatter here; just Will teaching Tom how to start a fire with flints. There are no flashbacks of their previous life. Okay, I get it. Will is damaged goods, who should be in a veterans’ hospital with daily care. But he’s not. He’s out here in a park without matches or cellphone, illegally camping on state property. That never ends well, ask Sylvester Stallone.

I’m a curious man and a father. Why is Tom not in school? Is anyone looking for them? No grandparents, cousins, uncle, aunts? Facebook friends? Anyone?

As I said, I am an annoyingly curious man. Most friends do not like going to the movies with me. I sit there asking, “Why are his hair and beard not growing?” or “What do they use for toilet paper?” I shouldn’t be thinking that. I should be engrossed. I should be caring. Why aren’t Granik and Anne Rosellini making me care?

I want a journey like this to provide me with at least a few of Hansel’s white pebbles, so I can find my way to where it started.

Finally a break in the nasturtium lunches. A runner passes by. Tom hides, but the runner sees her. Soon a park ranger on foot patrol with dogs comes searching for them.

They wind up in a Portland City care center, staffed by kind and gentle professionals who are only looking as I am, for answers.

In a few days they are sent to live on a Christmas tree farm, where Will learns how all those trees come to be in our parking lots in December. We’ve already seen that on “60 Minutes.” Where is the mother?

Tom is drafted into a local 4-H group, and gets to pet cute bunnies and meet curious boys. She gets cooked food. Wow, her eyes tell us, this really beats nasturtiums.

But Will’s demons take hold. He takes Tom, and escapes back to the woods where things begin to get really dangerous.

I didn’t come looking for a Tom Cruise car chase or shoot out. I just want Tom to get her teeth looked at. I want Will to get a yearly physical at the VA. It’s pretty and verdant now, but it snows in Oregon. What then?

I feel for Will, but clearly he has no right to force his child to embrace permanent homelessness or life as a fugitive.

Near the end, there is a break.

After Tom experiences a series of kind, gentle and happy adults, she wises up.

On their way down from a happy camp full of friends, she stops and makes a startling and powerful statement.

Granik wrote and directed “Winter’s Bone,” a much, much better film with a real engrossing story that started the career of Jennifer Lawrence. Thomasin McKenzie has something worth building a career on, but she’s no Jennifer Lawrence.

Ben Foster, who startled me in the 2007 remake of “3:10 to Yuma,” and gave a really powerful performance in 2016’s “Hell or High Water” failed to make it out of the woods this time.

But stay high on Granik and Rosellini. Rent “Winter’s Bone.”

J.P. Devine, of Waterville, is a former stage and film actor.

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