The second film that I rented from Blockbuster yesterday was another Academy Award nominated film by a female director, Winter's Bone. In summary, a really good film with great suspense and performances, even if it is slightly overrated.
The plot of the film centering on a 17 year old trying to find her father or else she loses the family house is really effective and it makes you want to see the character find her father. The acting in the film is great, especially Jennifer Lawrence who is really natural and believable as Ree Dolly finding her father and it is good to see that more people will get to recognize her in the future (geeks as Mystique in X-Men: First Class and tweens as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games aka watered down Battle Royale) and there is a great performance by John Hawkes as Ree's uncle Teardrop who also gives a very real performance as a man trying to find out what has happened to his brother. The performances in general are great and very believable. Another key positive to this film is the suspense, there were times when I was just thinking Oh Shit over what was going to happen with the beating scene being almost unbearable to watch due to the suspense involved. However there are some serious flaws with the film, the pacing in the first few scenes before Hawkes comes in are unbearably slow and didn't make me enjoy the movie until the brilliant performance by Hawkes was introduced. There are also some scenes which come out of nowhere and are never mentioned again, mainly where Hawkes smashes a car with an axe and you never see the consequences of this action. I also felt that the bit it the army recruiting office was a bit tacked on. All these flaws are saved by the heart-pounding ending of the film, the suspense is torture and the direction and the cinematography on the lake are incredible, the last scene is really nice and you feel like Lawrence really deserved this ending and the ambiguity of who caused her father's disappearance is great and I will be wondering for ages who the person was. I feel that if I could watch this film a few more times and with a better quality TV, I may be able to fully see why people were raving about this if I could meet these expectations but as of now, it is a good film but some problems with pacing and scenes prevent it from truly being great.
My Rating: 3.5/5