Thursday, August 10, 2017

Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone; drama, USA, 2010; D: Debra Granik, S: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser

Ree (17) lives with a poor family in the Ozarks: she has a sick mother and thus has to take care of her younger brother (12) and sister (6). Her family in is trouble: Ree's dad, previously arrested for cooking "Meth", has disappeared for weeks, and unless he shows up at the court hearing, her family is going to lose their home that was set up as the bail bond. Ree thus decides to find her dad and travels from house to house, including her uncle Teardrop, but to no avail. Finally, after a lot of trouble, some women bring Ree to a lake where she finds her father dead. They cut of the hands of the corpse from the lake to serve as proof that he is indeed dead. This is sufficient for the court to decide not to evict Ree's family.

Despite critical acclaim, this is a routine social drama, a movie genre that is a dime a dozen. "Winter's Bone" presents a story in which the heroine, Ree, goes from door to door to search for her missing father. The thing is - why should anyone care? The characters, events and situations are all standard, conventional, lifeless, humorless and bland. The whole movie is, unfortunately, completely unmemorable. So unmemorable that, in two-three years, the viewers will probably not be able to remember any scene, situation or dialogue from it. It is not a good sign when the only thing you might remember about a certain film is Ree teaching her younger brother how to skin an animal and removes its intestine. The dialogues all unravel like a typical, everyday writing on "autopilot", with actors reciting long and ponderous lines that are obvious and redundant. That may have been the intention, but it was a wrong intention: if the movie is boring, why make it? If it does not stand out at all, why bother? If it is mundane, why should it be considered special, anyway? It may be realistic, but is makes for a very unexciting watch. And then the finale just shows up and the movie just ends there, without any conclusion. It is a solid movie, yet one wishes that the authors inserted just a tiny bit ingenuity, energy, creativity or life in it, something that would offer a broader spectrum of a viewing experience than this.


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