Reviewed Mar 16, 2012
John Warrender’s review:
Debra Granik’s adaptation of Daniel Woodrell’s novel crosses so many types of genre it’s hard to know where to start. It has the episodic structure of a fairy-tale, the indomitable hero and quest-arc of a detective story, the inhospitable landscape of a survival narrative, and the terrifying antagonists of a Hills-Have-Eyes-style horror movie. Granik’s control of atmosphere is such that the frozen world seems to bleed out of the screen, chilling the blood even before we get to the events depicted. Ree’s search for her no-good father takes her into the dangerous underbelly of her community, with only her menacing uncle to help her.
Watching this young woman forced to endanger herself for the sake of her family is agonising, partially through some of the best storytelling of 2010, but mostly through career-best performances from John Hawkes and Dale Dickey, and the memorable arrival of Jennifer Lawrence in the mainstream cultural consciousness.