Saturday, January 26, 2013

Drug Dealing The Hillbilly Way

I got distracted playing a game yesterday and didn't get shit done all night. I even forgot to put my trash out. Not that I had much anyway. Even though it is part of one of my bills, I don't always set it out since I just don't have a whole lot living by myself usually. Anyway, I watched Winter's Bone (2010) the other night. I watched it because a couple of years ago when Final Girl put a list together of everyone's favorite horror films, this movie found its way in. After watching it, I didn't really get why it would make its way into a horror list, but not wanting to watch another movie and delaying a review even longer, I decided to go ahead and do a review.

Ree (Jennifer Lawrence) is growing up fast. At the age of 17, she is already taking care of her ill mom and her younger brother Sonny (Isaiah Stone) and sister Ashlee (Ashlee Thompson). Their dad cooks meth for the local drug trade where they live in the Ozark Mountains. The local Sheriff (Garret Dillahunt) stops by to inform Ree that her dad has been in a lot of trouble of late and if he misses his upcoming court date, not only will he be in more trouble, but Ree and her family could possibly lose their house since their dad used it for bail money. Knowing there is no way she can take care of her family without at least a roof over their head, and knowing they have no where they can go, Ree sets out to find her father alive or dead. She first turns to her uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes), but he doesn't know where is brother is either. He tells Ree that more than likely he is dead somewhere. Everywhere Ree goes she is told to stay out of it and get back home, but Ree is one hard headed girl.

I had a really hard time getting into Winter's Bone. A big part of that has to do with the fact that I kept getting phone calls from work during the first 45 minutes or so of the film. I kept having to pause the movie, so it took a while to get through it. I tried not to let that affect how I felt about the movie, but I'm pretty sure it did by the end of it. I didn't find Winter's Bone boring like some people did. I can usually get through a drama that takes its time in telling the story without much violence and explosions. Unlike some people, I don't need something to grab my attention every second. At the same time though, I just didn't find the story all that interesting. Sure I felt sorry for Ree, and I got the character. Losing my mom early in my life meant that I stepped up to do things, even though I didn't really have to. I liked that Ree is doing the same, doing right with her family. I also liked how she was unwilling to give up. What I didn't like is the same situation over and over again. No matter who she went to, it was the same story. They start off somewhat nice and then turn mean once she tells them why she is around. Then you have guys who look like they are ready to kill whenever a cop is around. Even though they already know who the bad guys are, it wouldn't be hard to figure it out if you are new on the job.

There is a lot as far as special effects go. Ree gets beat up pretty good and the makeup for that looks real good. It really looks like she took a beating. There is also some severed hands, but we don't get to see those very well. The acting was real good. Winter's Bone is really what got Jennifer Lawrence noticed. She made people fans after this film, and it really is no wonder why. I thought the actors playing her siblings were okay. From what I was reading, the house that stood if for Ree's family is really Ashlee Thompson's home. After bonding with Ashlee, Jennifer wanted Ashlee to play the part. John Hawkes gives a pretty good performance as well.

I'm sure taking phone calls through the first part of Winter's Bone hurt how I ended up feeling about it. Not like I have never been distracted while trying to watch a movie, but I was starting to wonder if I was going to make it through it in one day. I did like this one, just didn't love it like others do. Of course there are people who did hate it as well, but at least I wasn't one of those. If Winter's Bone sounds interesting to you, then give it a shot. It is no longer on instant watch on Netflix, but maybe it will show up there again soon. While Winter's Bone is a different kind of drama than what I normally watch, I still don't really get how it can fit into the horror genre, but to each their own.
3 out of 5 Glad I don't know anyone in the drug trade!


Jimmy the Saint said...

While Winter's Bone is a different kind of drama than what I normally watch, I still don't really get how it can fit into the horror genre, but to each their own.

Admit it, you watched the movie just for Jennifer Lawrence!

Dusty McGowan said...

This is a good, honest review. It sounds like it didn't quite click for you.

I would suggest giving it another go when you have some time to watch uninterrupted. It takes a lot of time to "sink in" as the old saying goes.

As far as why it would end up on a horror list: It's got some horrific elements (especially during the scene on a boat towards the end...but that's a spoiler so I won't go into it).