Tuesday, February 15, 2011

16/50: Winter's Bone

Let me first start by saying that I did not see this performance coming from a million miles away. Mrs. Kano and I may have been two of the 25 people that actually watched "The Bill Engvall Show while it was airing on TBS. It was a pretty decent little family comedy - but by no means anything real special.

But, lo and behold, there was apparently a diamond in the rough. Because on that show starring as Bill's daughter, Lauren, is Oscar nominee for Winter's Bone Jennifer Lawrence.

She seemed like a great actress, the kind that come from the Disney Channel or soap operas, but honestly I had no idea that she could end up being this talented.

The movie itself has Lawrence's Ree taking care of her adolescent brother and sister, along with her sick-in-the-head mother in Ozark Mountain.

She finds out from local Sheriff Basking (Garret Dillahunt) that her drug making father, Jessip, had put up their house and land to post bail - and if he didn't show up for his hearing that they would lose all that they had left.

Some family members and friends offer to take care of the little kids, but not together. Ree, wanting to keep her family together, heads out to look for her father through some of the toughest parts of the county - dead or alive, as long as he shows, they can keep their property.

Ree doesn't get much help in her search until Jessip's brother, Teardrop (John Hawkes) steps in to keep some local tough guys away from Ree.

The film itself looks amazing, but very bleak. Top notch acting all-around; I spoke of Lawrence, but Hawkes, who I have liked for a long time, did a great job as Teardrop - and even Dillahunt as the local sheriff. Good to see these two "Deadwood" grads doing so well.

I had a tough time grading this because I feel the film deserves an Excellent, but due to rewatchability I was seriously considering giving it a Suspense is Killing Me. In the end, I went with my first thought and gave it what the movie deserved.


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