Sunday, 18 December 2011

Winter's Bone (2010)

At a glance:
Sparse and muted but oddly compellin, R-rated indie gem Winter's Bone was up for four Oscar nods includin Best Pic; and deserved all the distributor attention it got, if only because it's the least watched and probably the cheapest of the 10 nominees to shoot. Who would have thought that a US$ 2 million movie could turn so many heads? Critics have likened this to another Sundance winner, 2008's Frozen River. Here, we follow Down To The Bone director Debra Granik through the Missouri Ozark backwoods of crime writer Daniel Woodrell's 2006 book, where 17-year-old Ree Dolly deals with a sick mother, starvin siblings and a missin father - while buyin time before her home is repossessed. It's a morality tale about the white underclass and the underground drug trade, underpinned by some remarkable performances from a completely committed cast. In the lead, a young, classically-untrained Jennifer Lawrence (The Burning Plain, 2008) puts in a turn so apt and convincin, she got nominated by the Academy for Best Actress. Her star-makin role as an almost dislikeable teenager is mature and smoothly underhit. Joinin the restrained brilliance is John Hawkes (Me And You And Everyone We Know, 2005) who was himself endorsed here under Best Supporting for his role as the menacin uncle Teardrop, a conflicted man with a superb character arc. Other turns include Garret Dillahunt as a stiff local sheriff and a feisty Dale Dickey as the town matriarch.
Bad news on the doorstep:

Findin an adult without the attention span of housefly to watch it with.
Perennial wonderment:

If Jennifer Lawrence will find work consistently. Since appearin in X-Men: First Class (2011) as Raven / Mystique, I can't see her bein listed in anythin big, except The Hunger Games (2012). We need to see more of her.

Reminds me of:

Terribly Happy (2008) and Shotgun Stories (2007)
Most memorable line:
Never ask for what oughtta be offered.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Perhaps the climax smacked too much of a fable and lacked a more memorable and dramatic reward for viewers but Winter's Bone definitely delivers - that is, if you didn't base your expectations on its completely inappropriate B-grade horror movie poster (at least in my region). It may well be the only film in recent times that is genuinely worth watchin because some people thought it was Oscar-worthy. You'll like the music, too.