Hands up who knows what the Ozark Mountains look like? Well, you won’t soon forget after watching this bleak thriller. Winter’s Bone (2010) has already received 4 Academy Award nominations this year and it’s not hard to see why – you haven’t seen a landscape so unwelcoming since No Country for Old Men (2007) or The Road (2009). Oh yes, Debra Granik’s woodlands are bleak. Bleak, bleak, bleak.
Granik and Anne Rosellini’s screenplay is a simple affair, allowing Jennifer Lawrence’s grim determination to keep you hooked. And it works – she does downbeat country girl without ever bordering on redneck cliché. The rest of the cast are the shadows that surround her, John Hawkes’ scraggy dog a particularly potent blend of silence and hidden brutality.