Caught almost literally between a rock and a hard place, Ree Dolly’s (Jennifer Lawrence) life in the brutal yet sparsely beautiful Ozarks, an unyielding stretch of south-western Missouri, is one that would test the hardiest teenager. Her errant father’s only bankable skill is his ability to cook methamphetamine and he’s long gone, leaving her to care for her glassy-eyed, emotionally hollow mother and her younger brother and sister. His court date is due, and if he fails to make good on his bond and show up at court, they’ll be destitute — feral figures suddenly stalking the knotty landscape.
Which leaves the distraught Ree tramping the backwoods of her home, moving from house to house, rapping on doors to indifference or vehemence from her outlaw neighbours and family. This is a community bound up in its own code of silence and proud of its lawlessness; police deputies approach these homes with fear. Stand-offs are common and justice meted out without recourse to the authorities; here it is blunt, bloody and all-consuming. Director Debra Granik brings this bleak place to quiet life, her unflinching eye capturing the landscape’s nuances as boldly as if it were a character’s features. Her desire to be hard among the details along with Lawrence’s turn as the bedraggled Ree is what should see Winter’s Bone leap the divide between art-house hit and commercial pay dirt. The cast, too, bring their grimy presence to bear through tough, unhinged performances that leave dirty fingerprints across the screen. They bring the horror of what passes for normal life alive.
- Director: Debra Granik
- Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes and Garret Dillahunt
- Cert 15- 100 min - Drama | Mystery | Thriller - 17 September 2010 (UK)