• James Rutherford

'Winter's Bone': An Enthralling Neo-Noir Thriller Set in the Ozark Mountains


Movie poster for the film Winter's Bone starring Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes

“Winter’s Bone” (2010) is s stark and absorbing neo-noir mystery/drama that follows teenage Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) who is struggling to care for her impoverished family in rural Missouri when she learns that her meth-cook father has disappeared, and that her family faces eviction from their home.

Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, the film follows Ree’s race-against-time in the search of her father within the criminal underworld of their small Ozark mountain community. The storyline leads her from one jarring confrontation to another, and blends life-like naturalism with classic mystery elements, adding up to an impressive hybrid of styles that feels both refreshingly familiar and strikingly original.

Directed by Debra Granik (Down to the Bone, Leave No Trace), “Winter’s Bone” is an edgy and absorbing attention-grabber that will surprise you with it's authenticity and sharp, no-nonsense performances. Lawrence is particularly strong in her first lead role (for which she earned an Academy Award nomination), displaying the perfect blend of steely nerves and moments of honest fragility. A truly remarkable sleeper film not to be overlooked.

 

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