Streaming Pile Of Hits (Winter’s Bone Review)

I was listening to a podcast recently and someone posed a question asking “Are we handcuffed to only watch movies available to us” meaning if you stream netflix you only watch whats available and don’t really seek out or hunt down a movie anymore.  I would initially agree that Yes this is in fact the case and it does kind of suck but the reality is we have never as a society had this much cinematic art at our disposal.  How you could browse instant streaming and think there’s nothing good to watch is insane.   Half the fun of NIS is seeing what pops up from week to week.  Recently a movie that I had vowed to see but got kinda lazy and never did was “Winter’s Bone” which I had never heard of until it was nominated for Best Picture last year.  Well there it is, streaming on netflix, no more excuses.  Tonight I sat down and watch Winter’s Bone” and here are my thoughts.

Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) is a young girl searching for her meth cooking father who abandoned his family and by not showing up for his court date their house and property will be taken away by bail bondsmen because he used the house as collateral.   Ree who takes care of her two younger siblings because her mother is a catanic mess, Ree sets out to find her father but no one is talking.  This is the best I can relay the plot without giving too much away.

Debra Granik Directs and Co-wrote the screenplay adapted from a Daniel Woodrell novel and she does a masterful job at both.  It’s the style and feel of the meth induced mid-west that plays just a central character as anyone in this film and is done beautifully.  Granik shoots this bleak southern impoverished setting with a keen eye for excellent imagery, but this movie shines under neither Jennifer Lawrence’s hard nosed seventeen year old Ree.  She plays this character searching for her father like a physically and mental beat down private eye, still with the innocence of a teenage girl.  Her performance and also a chilling turn by John Hawkes as her uncle who reluctantly gets involved is just as good if not better.

This film’s Achilles heel is also it’s greatest strength as it slowly, but surely moves at a very methodical pace that will turn some people off but really sets the tone as a lumbering thriller.  I was entertained all the way through the journey and I highly recommend checking this film out.

B+ (Stream it soon, watch it alone, buy it used.)

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~ by ATOM on September 2, 2011.

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