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Customer Review

398 of 424 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crank's ravages revealed, June 22, 2010
This review is from: Winter's Bone (DVD)
As crack cocaine is to inner cities and alcohol is to Indian reservations, so methamphetamine is devastating rural white communities across the United States. WINTER'S BONE, set in the remote Ozark Mountains, hauntingly depicts this plague. The story focuses on 17-year-old Ree Dolly, whose father has disappeared after putting up the family home as bail collateral. Unless she can find him, Ree and her younger brother and sister will be without a roof over their heads.

Ree's father is a "cooker" and her mother has been driven into a catatonic state. Ree is on her own in the hostile, clannish, and male-dominated community where she stumbles from trailer to trailer in her frantic search. Crank's ravages are everywhere, in the gaunt and grim faces, the harsh and sudden violence, the cruelty and hopelessness. Her father's only brother, Teardrop (flawlessly played by John Hawkes), holds a spoonful of the white powder out to her and asks, "Gotten the taste for it yet?" "Not yet," she recoils.

Aside from the down-home soundtrack, Winter's Bone is not easy to watch. Its gritty realism never lets up. The characters look like they climbed from Dorothea Lange's Depression and Dust Bowl images, only with a touch of meth-induced paranoia added to the hunger and despair. The dialogue is sparse, and not once in 100 minutes do we hear laughter or feel much hope for Ree's future. What makes it all bearable is the strength and determination of Ree, movingly played by 19-year-old Jennifer Lawrence.

Winter's Bone is winning awards and earning rave reviews. The acclaim is well deserved. To achieve authenticity, director and co-writer Debra Granik and her team spent two years immersing themselves in the local community. Ree's younger sister is even played by a child who lives in the main house in which the movie is set. The film's power makes me want to see Granik's 2005 debut film, "Down to the Bone," another award winner focused on drug addiction and featuring a strong female lead.

Postscript #1: For an excellent critical review, I recommend the Feb. 20 analysis by "Turfseer." (As a shortcut to it, you can type into your browser.)

Postscript #2: To gain a critical understanding of the meth plague in rural communities of the U.S., I highly recommend Nick Reding's Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town. It convincingly links the meth epidemic to global changes, including the pharmaceutical industry and the corporatization of food.
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Showing 1-10 of 32 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 23, 2010 4:34:21 AM PDT
Well written and after reading the review I will purchase the DVD.

Posted on Sep 16, 2010 1:20:08 PM PDT
D_shrink says:
Good review with a succinct description of the ravages of crank.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 3, 2010 10:31:58 AM PDT
Franci says:
Very good and helpful Ms. Franklin, thank you.

Posted on Nov 12, 2010 7:23:46 PM PST
LuKasAV6 says:
I love this review. I hope Jennifer Lawrence gets recognized for her performance along with Michael McDonough for his cinematography.

Posted on Nov 12, 2010 9:00:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 12, 2010 9:00:38 PM PST
Thanks to all of you. I appreciate your positive comments.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2010 8:55:45 AM PST
F. Perkins says:
What a great review! You nailed this movie exactly.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2010 9:21:27 AM PST
albarino says:
If you read no other review, this is the one that gets it right about this important film.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2010 8:38:16 AM PST
Thank you very much for your kind words, Gordon.

Posted on Dec 21, 2010 8:41:01 AM PST
J. Badger says:
Great review, especially your comment about Dorothea Lange. So true!

Posted on Jan 25, 2011 11:27:47 PM PST
Pleiadian7 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]
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Location: El Cerrito, CA, USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 32,800