– . – Winter’s Bone
“I ain’t goin’ anywhere.” Somewhere between a reassuring promise of continuity and a fatalistic surrender to rootedness, the final line of Winter’s Bone has a more general tone of ambivalence. The very blood that has given 17-year-old Ree ( Lawrence) life also traps her, driving her desperate search for her father after he jumps bail on a drugs charge. And there is much bad blood in this close knit Missouri mountains community, where silence is golden and transgressions are swiftly punished.
Winter’s Bone is all at once an agrarian Odyssey (with Ree the adolescent, abandoned Telemachus), a celebration of female solidarity in a male-dominated world, a socio-anthropological study of Ozarks life, a ‘country noir’ tinged with the harshest of moralities, and a very tense thriller. Most of all, though, it is a tale of survival. Yet despite the unforgiving winter chill, warmth comes from unexpected places; not just from Ree herself, but also from kindly neighbours, a fair-minded bounty hunter, and even Ree’s tough, loving uncle Teardrop (Hawkes, channelling Dennis Hopper). With its rugged performances and bleak sense of place, Granik’s Midwestern gothic is definitely going somewhere, and will take viewers with it all the way. 4 stars