Drama Movies, by Ajay Singh, 08 April 2011

Director: Debra Granik

Stars: Isaiah Stone, John Hawkes, Ashlee Thompson, Dale Dickey, Kevin Breznahan, Jennifer Lawrence, Shelley Waggener, Lauren Sweetser

Country: USA

Runtime: 100 min

Release Date:

Language: English

Awards:Berlin International Film Festival, Boston Independent Film Festival, Florida Film Critics Circle Awards

Nominations: Academy Awards, British Independent Film Awards, Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards

Official Site: Winter’s Bone Official Site

Winter’s Bone, directed by Debra Granik, is based on the novel of American writer Daniel Woodrell, native to the Ozarks region. Most of his novels are set in the Missouri Ozarks and he describes his own style as “country noir”.

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

Winter’s Bone tells the story of 17-year old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) who fights to protect her depressed mother and younger siblings. Her search for her father among relatives and associates hits a wall, as nobody wants to tell the truth. Very soon it becomes clear that her father must have been killed by the clan, whose main profit comes from illegal methamphetamine labs. The potential open court hearings were in nobody’s interest and he had to disappear. Ree is turned away, lied to, and even beaten, but she never stops in her quest to keep her dysfunctional family under one roof. What she finds in the end is her father’s body, and cuts his hands off to present them to the court as proof of his death.

Winter’s Bone can be seen as a thriller, suspense, even horror at times. In fact it does not matter how to define its genre. The real suspense and horror are not as much in the hand cutting scene as one would expect. (By the way the 2010 film season is very much into cutting limbs and hands hold the first place.)

The real horror of the film is in the everyday life of these people, in what they consider normal. It is a world of dirt, poverty, decay and animal-like aggression, populated by zombie-like people constantly on meth. When Ree tries to teach her younger siblings some useful skills, she does not take them to the mall to show them how to use discount coupons. She takes them to the woods to show them how to hunt, kill, and cook game on an open fire. These children do not squeal of joy when they see a fluffy squirrel. They shoot it in the eye and tear its fluff off before sinking their teeth into its flesh.

What looks very controversial is that these people make and sell drugs, but it does not even give them a decent quality of life. They fight for survival in their primeval woods without trying to change anything in their “Medieval” life. The society is divided into clans, run by fierce herds of women. These Amazons rule their drugged husbands and perform justice the way they see it fit. First they beat Ree almost to death and later decide to help her to find her father’s corpse. Ree does not mind the first and is grateful for the second. The only man with a face in the film is her uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes) but it is a pathetic face.

The film is almost black and white, shot in a documentary style. The surroundings and acting are so convincing that the viewer starts believing in the reality of this life full of anger, despair, and violence. By the end we take it all for granted and that’s where the real horror is. The film is rightfully nominated and awarded many prizes. It is a rare example of a very visually stylish film shot with real taste and understanding of the material.

Winter’s Bone [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Garrett Dillahunt, Kevin Breznahan
Director: Debra Granik
Format: Anamorphic, PAL, Widescreen
Language:
Subtitles:
Studio: Artificial Eye
Running Time: 100 minutes

List Price:
Price: £8.47
42 offers available from £0.98
4.1 out of 5 stars (142)

Winter’s Bone Videos

Winter’s Bone Trailer

Winter’s Bone Stills

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

John Hawkes and Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

John Hawkes and Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone

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