August 12, 2010

Winter's Bone - 2010

Director: Debra Granik
Writers: Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes

Ree (Lawrence) has a terrible life. Not only does she live in the Ozarks (a part of the country full of the sort of people who hunt their own food and join antigovernment militia groups), but her dad (a known meth cooker) is on the run, having put up their house for his bond, and her mom is mute and incapable of performing her maternal duties. This leaves Ree, along with some occasional help from her uncle Teardrop (Hawkes), with the Herculean task of both raising her younger brother and sister while searching for her father so their house is not taken.

Reviewing this movie puts me in a weird place. Is it well-made? Undoubtedly. Are there some wonderful performances from our (mostly unknown) cast? Certainly. I personally can't wait to see Lawrence as Mystique in X-Men: First Class, and Hawkes was nigh unrecognizable from the last time I saw him onscreen. The cinematography makes it all fall apart for me. Something about the way that it's shot lends the idea that at any moment, the characters are going to talk to the camera, thus revealing the true documentary nature. I don't mean to belittle the plight of Ozark dwellers, who I'm sure have been in similar situations to the plot of the movie; I just found it off-putting. It's also a little light on backstory--not a lot of specifics on how a few of the characters know each other, what happened to them before the events of the film, that sort of thing. I guess I'll have to give this a B- for now, all things considered.

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