"Winter's Bone" Movie Review

6/24/2010 Posted by Admin

"Winter's Bone"

Movie Review

By our guest blogger, Aidan Thomas

The recent popularity of realist cinema has given American Independent Film a real jumpstart. With all of the teen angst and mopey love dramas out there sometimes it’s nice to sit down to a movie that has real emotion.

"Winter’s Bone," by director and co-writer Debra Granik, examines life in the Missouri Ozarks. The film focuses on Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old family matriarch, as she navigates the landscape in search of her troubled father--a well known methamphetamine dealer who has put the family's house up as collateral for his bail. Ree, a young but fearless young woman, stands up to the challenge as she goes from house to house in search of her father.

The film unfolds slowly and meticulously as the film's characters refuse to tell Ree (or us) what she wants to hear. Characters tell their stories, not with words but with their bodies, faces and with what they leave unsaid. Their faces are worn and reflect the broken down landscape that the film’s cinematographer Michael McDonough captures beautifully.

The characters are stuck. They are stuck in their ways--bound by family bonds that swear them to secrecy at the expense of the justice for which Ree so desperately searches. As the story unfolds, questions get answered as quickly as new questions appear. The closer Ree gets to the truth, the more disheartening the answers become. Ree, the picture of independence, is forced to acknowledge and react to the rigid patriarch and family ties that exist all around her. It's a world with unspoken rules and implicit social positions. It’s a forgotten world.

The film doesn’t pander, though. It’s not a tale of perseverance against the odds or conquering personal demons. There’s no winner in this story. Ree’s search for her father nets no enemies and has no clear resolution. As the story unfolds, we begin to realize that Ree is not searching for her father. She’s searching for a way to accept the burden that’s been placed on her. Ree’s dream halfway through the film perfectly captures the worries that occupy her. Her world is decaying. People are chopping it down and the vultures are having their way with it.

"Winter’s Bone" is a respite from the melodramas that have taken over the film landscape. The film isn’t neat. It’s not fun and it’s not happy, but it’s all the better for that.

Grade: A

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  1. Hrushi said...

    Makes me think that's the way films are becoming. "Its one-time watch if its senti" according to what most youth around say! :D