Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winter's Bone | Review

And the award for best acting by an ensemble goes to..... a bunch of really ugly rednecks.
Remember when I said that the cast of A Serious Man were the ugliest cast I have ever seen assembled into one movie, well.. I'd like to take that back and bestow that award of these people right here. Oh My God are these people ugly. But Holly Shit is this movie amazing.
In Winter's Bone, Jennifer Lawrence plays Ree Dolly; a 17 year old teenager who is forced to care for her impoverished family after her mother went crazy. When the law threatens to take away her house if her criminal father does not show up for his court hearing, Ree travels into the underbelly of the drug and feud ridden world of the Ozarks to look for him.
Winter's Bone is every bit of a movie that many people just can't appreciate. It is a slow burner of a film with a driving force of a script and a team of actors anchored by a young and daring Jennifer Lawrence that brings to life a dark and haunting film on the magnitude of The Road.
This movie is 2 hours long, has no soundtrack, and is mostly Jennifer Lawrence talking to a bunch of really ugly people, but this is one compelling story. On surface, Winter's Bone moves at snail pace but underneath the dialog and stunning scenery is a character study that is borderline volatile and horrific with with unblinking ferocity and emotions.
Jennifer Lawrence gives a star-making performance in this. She is every bit of Will Smith's character in The Pursuit of Happyness, only that she is 17 and facing down drug fiends and murdering rednecks instead of stockbrokers. Her acting is depressing, bleak and haunting yet somewhat hopeful. Lawrence has created a modern day heroine with her role which is definitely going to land her a nomination for Best Lead Actress come Oscar time.
However, Lawrence did have an amazing ensemble of actors to play off of. One stand out being John Hawkes who plays Ree's uncle. His character is menacing yet endearing, walking that very brittle wall between scum and hero. You love him, yet you never know if you can trust him. But ultimately, he is the villain with a heart of gold that will do the right thing. John Hawkes is one of the dark horses in the race, but he is my choice to win Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars.
Another actor I am absolutely loved in the film was Dale Dickey, who is without a doubt the ugliest actress working in Hollywood today. Her character is one strong woman, sometimes coming off as a bad person more often than not but I do appreciate her character's arc during the climax of the film which is also one of the most thrilling night water scenes I have watched since The Cove. Which is also another testament of how great Dickey's menacing performance was, her character is just so scary, you simply do not trust Jennifer Lawrence with her, even if she is trying to help.
I also have got to praise Debra Granik for directing this. The gathering storm of a narrative and heavy performances set across a bleak Ozarks world was an absolute pleasure to watch coming from a person who enjoys truly stirring movies.
Winter's Bone is dark, brooding, slow, character driven and is one of the cathartic cinematic experiences I have ever had.

RATING: 9/10

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