Based on the novel “Leave No Trace” by Hannah Nyala, Heatstroke tells the story of survival and the strong will of a heartbroken woman.
Paul (Stephen Dorff), a hyena expert and father to a rebellious teenager, gets offered a journey of a lifetime to an Africa desert to study the animal he loves. Along with his girlfriend Tally (Svetlana Metkina), who shares his passion for wildlife, Paul decides to make it a family trip as he needs to build a relationship with his daughter and show her there’s more to life than an IPad.
His daughter Josie (otherwise known as ‘Jo’), who is played by one of Game of Thrones’ favourites Maisie Williams, is not pleased with her dad’s new girlfriend joining their trip and after many arguments begs to be taken home. Paul agrees, leaves Tally at the base camp, and drives Jo to the airport.
Unfortunately, Paul encounters something on the way and ends up facing the desert’s despicable poachers and arms dealers. The two are driven off the road and Paul is brutally murdered – but don’t stress that’s not the spoiler. That’s only the beginning.
Tally, by some miracle, finds the wrecked Land Rover and discovers that Jo is still alive, but her boyfriend has been killed. The two women have to put away their differences and work together to survive not only the desert, but the arms dealers who are after them.
With no water, the sun on their backs, and cocky men out to get them, it is a test of their strength to survive and to avenge their loved one.
Set in the South African desert, this movie boasts well captured aerial views of the beautiful, yet scorching, scenery with camera angles that truly take you on this gruelling journey. The three main characters are the only ones who do the movie justice, as our locals who play the arms dealers lack serious talent.
This plot has been done before, but it’s an interesting twist as it is so close to home and makes use of our great landscape that kept me intrigued. I feel that the age restriction should have been higher as the movie does include some graphic death scenes and language no thirteen year old should be exposed to (unless I’m too old school). Other than that, it was better than I expected.