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Winter's Bone


Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Shelley Waggener, Kevin Breznahan, Lauren Sweetzer, Sheryl Lee, Benjamin Riley

Director: Debra Granik

Up in them thar Missour' mountains, Ozark folk don't brew moonwhine whiskey no more, they cook up drugs instead. It's just that activity that's gotten Jesse Dolly into trouble. Bail is posted before his latest court appearance, but Jesse disappears, leaving behind a mentally fading wife, a resilient 17-year-old daughter, Ree (Lawrence), and two more kids, a boy of 12 and a girl of six.

Ree soon learns that if Jesse isn't found, they will lose the farmhouse. She determines to track him down, but encounters a wall of hostility from the neighbourhood.

She finds a reluctant ally in her father's brother Teardrop (Hawkes) but Jesse remains missing. Ree is convinced he's dead but needs evidence before she can save the farm.

This is the sort of film where everyone over 40 looks toothless even when they're not, but the narrative is fairly absorbing, although why one character savagely beats Ree in one scene, and helps her in the next isn't really clear.

Lawrence is solid, if a bit expressionless; unfair to judge her potential on this performance. Critics will like this, I think, though the paying public may be a little more cautious.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Artificial Eye. Technicolor.
99 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 2, Swearing 1.

Review date: 14 Sep 2010