Directed by Debra Granik
Cornerhouse, 19 September 2010
In a recent interview, Donald E Westlake stated that two essentials of any great story are emotion and peril.
We find them in abundance in this fine film, an adaptation of Daniel Woodrell’s intense novel.
Woodrell’s young protagonist, Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence), is threatened with the loss of her home, her family, her life. She must find her father, who has skipped bail and is missing. To reach him she must test the ties that bind her to her family and her community. It is a testing time all around for Ree.
If Lawrence is terrific as Ree, and she is, then what of John Hawkes’ performance as her uncle, Teardrop? Man, he is as fine: intense, stand-up and on the ball.
One way to describe the film: it is like The Sopranos transposed to the Ozarks. The kick and the subtext is the same: family transcends the law, always. That may be an outlaw message, but it’s a value that America, and maybe the American West in particular, was built upon.
If I were Daniel Woodrell I’d perhaps query why one of Ree’s younger siblings was made a girl (they’re both boys in the novel, I think), but other than that I’d be well satisfied. And that’s the best compliment I can pay the film.Explore posts in the same categories: Film review comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.