Sunday, October 3, 2010

Movie Review: Winter's Bone

MJSSE Rating: 10

Time: 1hr 40m
Rated: R
Genre: Drama Thriller
IMDB link here, official site here.

On Mad Jack's Scale of Screen Excellence (0 - 10), I rate this as a solid 10. Here's why, without giving away too much about the plot.

The film is rated R by the easily offended Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), I suspect for realistic violent content, as opposed to the Hollywood crap that is normally rated PG, and show several thousand rounds of ammo being expended during the trailer, and where no one (not even the extras) get so much as a powder burn. In Winter's Bone, when a gun goes off someone is going to the hospital or to the morgue.

Our protagonist is one tough teenager surrounded by equally tough neighbors, all of whom live in a world harder than the concrete on I-75 in Detroit, MI. For those of you unfamiliar with this metaphor, I'll say this: Even a banker's heart isn't that hard. In spite of the hardships caused by this environment, they all survive.

The protagonist, Ree, must care for two young children and her mentally damaged mother. This includes finding enough to eat when you're dead broke and trying to teach the kids how to care for themselves, including reading, writing, cooking, cleaning and hunting for food. The man of the house is gone - vanished with very little trace, leaving behind a lot of problems that Ree has to deal with.

Whatever else Ree does, she does not whine about her hardships. Neither does anyone else. Life is tough, and none of the characters waste time complaining about how hard things are and how unfair it all is. What a relief! Meantime, the audience is treated to back woods scenery and culture that you won't find anywhere else.

Do not expect some type of hearts and flowers happy ending here. The film ends, and on reflection it ends where it should. There are no possibilities for a sequel, which is another big relief.

While you don't have to watch Winter's Bone on the big screen to enjoy it, I plan to see it again. It really is that good.

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