Billy Gray

Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Winter’s Bone

In Movie Reviews on August 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm

There’s a banjo in Winter’s Bone. And one scene that could be a primer on how to deep-fry a squirrel you shot in your backyard. But Debra Granik’s Appalachian drama otherwise skips the backwoods genre tropes Deliverance established 38 years ago.

Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) is 17. Her dad is on the lam. Her mom is a mute. And her younger brother and sister depend on her for basic survival. The authorities will seize the house she runs unless her father shows up for trial. He’s a notorious meth cooker. “My dad would never blow up a lab. That’s what he’s known for,” Ree says at one point in her perilous quest to find him down along Arkansas’s northern border.

But Granik and Anne Rosellini’s terse screenplay doesn’t treat crystal as a novelty whose intricacies must be explained to urbane indie audiences. I’m not even sure the characters utter the drug’s name. Instead there are oblique references to labs, tweaking, cooking and bad batches. It’s not a blasé take on methamphetamines, but a realistic one. And the sparse dialogue extends to the movie’s more prosaic moments, namely the interactions between Ree and her ruined family, struggling friends and shattered acquaintances. Read the rest of this entry »