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Winter's Bone
BLU-RAY disk
Nov 19, 2010 By: J.A. Hamilton
Winter's Bone order download
Director:
Debra Granik

Actors:
Jennifer Lawrence
John Hawkes
Kevin Breznahan

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Left to fend for herself, two younger siblings and sick mother, seventeen year old Ree has a lot on her plate. When her dad skips on his court date, Ree stands to lose the house and all their property if she cant locate her father or prove hes dead, something that could end getting her killed if shes not careful.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
From my experience, most Sundance Film Festival films dont dwell within the grey area, theyre either exceedingly well done or a dreadful bore. I didnt know what to expect from WINTERS BONE but thankfully this was an emotionally deep rooted film with far more to offer than Id have guessed. For me, this film stirred up all kinds of memories from spending summers at my grandparents farm in Cold Stream. I wouldnt expect many people to know where that is as like the barren landscape the people in this film call a home, to most it would look like a beat up piece of land in the middle of nowhere. And like this film, Cold Stream has a lot of character when viewed up close.

I think one of the scariest things about Horror films like THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE or even the new FRIDAY THE 13th remake are the locations themselves. I never saw it as a kid, but now as an adult I view these country spots quite differently. The tense mood behind this film feels as real to me as the chair Im sitting on. My grandparents have acres upon acres of land, loaded with livestock, old abandoned cars, woods and streams, so many places to get lost and buried. Much like Ree soon discovers, I too realize just how easy it would be to simply disappear out there and never be heard from again. Its a spine tingling and ever so creepy thought but one that made this film resonate with intensity.

I have to hand it to Jennifer Lawrence here as she carries this film flawlessly as a tough as nails kid determined to fight for her family. There are more than a few solid moments where her true acting prowess shines and I sincerely hope they dont go unnoticed. John Hawkes performance is just as noteworthy, especially coming from a guy whos usually just a bit part actor with a couple lines and maybe two to five minutes of screen time. The standoff between him and the cop when he gets pulled over and refuses to get out, both men holding guns intent on killing the other, was by far my favourite scene and got my adrenaline pumping pretty hard.

WINTERS BONE isnt a film youll hear much buzz about or see splashed all over the TV but rest assured this is one Sundance Film that deserved to win best picture. I find moments like these refreshing, having enjoyed a film I know for a fact I wouldnt have looked twice at had I not needed to review it. I tend to get so caught up in all the mainstream flicks that I forget to roll the dice as often as I should sometimes, but rest assured that hitting this flick up for a watch is no gamble and thoroughly encouraged from my end.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary: Director Debra Granik and director of photography Michael McDonough take us through the film giving much deserved praise to the actors and extras for making things feel so real. Honestly, a great many of these shots could have easily been taken in Hartland and the surrounding area which again, makes me quiver just a little.

Deleted Scenes: Theres about ten minutes of worth of filler that does nothing to push the film ahead and as a result them showing up here is no surprise.

Alternate Opening: I was hoping for something a bit more and at the very least something that helped bridge the whole abandoned father theme. No such luck, Im glad they stuck with the one they did.

The Making of Winters Bone: The film itself does come off as plain, featuring salt of the Earth people living a separate life than most of us are used to. This theory is brought home in this feature as we see many of the ordinary people used to help sell the films authenticity. Again, the similarities to Hartland and Cold Stream are uncanny.

Hardscrabble Elegy Composed and performed by Dickon Hinchliffe: Here we get a scenic video for one of the songs written for the movie as well as a list of musical credits for the films entire score.

Previews: Theres a feature film trailer as well as some other previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Again, this film hits home for me as Ive seen this sort of lifestyle before. Sure, where my grandparents live isnt as rundown and bleak, they dont eat squirrels or cook drugs but it does feel like a whole different world when youre there so I can empathise a little. Like I said, theres a lot more here than meets the eye and as a result its definitely worth checking out.
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