Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Winter's Bone" is a sparse, emotional Indie film that grips the viewer as if... if you were walking in 17 year old Ree Dolly's shoes through the cold winter Ozark woods with hunger eating away your innards.  Life in the southern Missouri woods can be idyllic..a child bouncing on a trampoline on her stuffed horsey, rolling back and forth on your skateboard on a scrap of plywood, watching a squirrel chattering and jumping amid the trees....  But when your daddy has disappeared, running from the law or worse...running from fellow meth cookers...and no food is left nor money to provide for two younger siblings, your mentally disabled mother, or for your own needy body, a young girl grows up fast.  She does what she needs to do to keep a fire going in the stove and to feed hungry mouths.  You go to your extended family seeking help and instead find a wall, silent and brutal, but you keep on pounding on that wall to find the answers you need for survival. You see how women who succumb in silence to a male-enforced code of honor bring down families in this rural pocket of American poverty and how this young girl will not accept that end for her own family. Outstanding empathetic acting by all so that you almost feel you are following a real life documentary.  Director Debra Granik brings out a haunting vision of hell in rural middle America where a drug and motorcycle patriarchal sub-culture is every bit stunting to human lives as the urban drug and gang sub-cultures of L.A. or Detroit. Based on a novel by Daniel Woodrell, this film is sure to be an Oscar contender and may well bring another woman the Best Director award in 2011.  This film ought not be missed as you navigate the many silly and ordinary films of Summer 2010.  Like films made from Cormac McCarthy novels, this is a hard film with no light moments to release the tension for the viewer. But unlike McCarthy's point of view that shows the the depravity in human existence, this film is made from a woman's perspective and indeed, there lies its redemption.

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