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Ten Word or Less Review: Best film of the year!  Says who?

Not far from our suburbs and cities, our malls and super grocery stores, our i-pods and hybrid cars, savageness still plays a part in everyday life.  “Winter’s Bone” takes the viewer to a part of the world few films care to wonder off into, the bareback of Ozark country, replete with easily prickled, drug addicted hillbillies who just as soon skin you as to look at your Yankee mug.  The setting is daring and a rare place to set a motion picture, but the story unfolding is minor and not exactly bursting at the seams with ripe drama.

“Bone” is the story of Ree Dolly, a teenager trying to raise her younger siblings with a mentally checked out mother and a father on the run from the law.  Dad has hastily put their house up as collateral on his bond to get out of jail, and subsequently vanished.  If Ree doesn’t locate her father and get him to square himself with the law, the house is gone and she and her siblings are out on the gravel.  Standing in between herself and her father are a whole community of violence prone white trash who’ve got their own scores to settle with her missing father.  As she makes inquiries into her father’s location, she’s routinely stonewalled and threatened in not so subtle ways.

That last sentence is that catch because it’s all that “Winter’s Bone” consist of in terms of drama and story, Ree asking people about her father and people telling her to shut up and go away.  It’s a barely workable narrative as it is and the story never jumps past this.  The story is in desperate need of some more complications or turns, but none are here.

What’s drawn much acclaim for “Winter’s Bone” especially locally, is star Jennifer Lawrence, a sure talent and Louisville native.  She’s too pretty by half for a film such as this but she feels believable and authentic.  She’s what holds the film up and she makes the overall experience worth the time.  Had an actress of less talent been cast, “Winter’s Bone” would’ve been a complete washout.

All in all there are some things to note here and there, Lawrence mostly, and the movie takes great measure to present an accurate and unflinching portrayal of gritty, Ozark life, but beyond observing how this particular societal fringe lives, there’s little to become invested in.

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