Tag Archives: 2010

Quickie: Winter’s Bone

Winter's BoneRee Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) looks after her mentally ill mother and two siblings when a bail bondsman shows up telling her that her father is out on bail for producing methamphetamine, and if he doesn’t show up to court, she risks losing her house as part of the bond. Ree then goes in search of her wayward father, risking everything to prevent her and her family becoming homeless.

There’s a bleakness to Winter’s Bone that never lets up. Even during its lighter moments, which are few and far between, there is a ubiquitous, unrelenting dreariness that could drown lesser films. However, Winter’s Bone uses it to its advantage, totally enveloping you and drawing you into Ree’s struggle. This family isn’t as much living as surviving, and there is always the sense that Ree’s life could have been so much more. However, the fact that her family comes above everything else shows that there is real purpose to the character and this is film’s driving force.

The two main roles on display here are Lawrence’s Ree and her uncle, Teardrop, played by John Hawkes. Both actors are superb in their roles and well worthy of their Oscar nominations in 2011. Lawrence in particular shows that she is more than capable of handling a lead part, and it’s no surprise that bigger roles have since come her way.

Winter’s Bone isn’t the most accessible of films, and some may be put off by its somewhat slow pace and largely uneventful (not a criticism) plot. However, it’s an affecting film that will resonate with many as a tale of austerity and family struggle, and one that has a real warmth under its icy exterior.

4 pigeons

4/5 pigeons

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Quickie: Point Blank (2010)

Point BlankSamuel (Gilles Lellouche) is a nurse who saves the life of Hugo (Roschdy Zem), a patient who’s also a wanted man – wanted by police and his partners in crime. Said partners kidnap Samuel’s wife (Elena Anaya) and will only give her back once he has smuggled the patient out of the hospital. Samuel then becomes one of the most wanted men in France and must team up with those on the wrong side of the law to save his wife.

Feeling a little like a cross between Taken and District 13, Point Blank is pretty relentless. From the outset there are fight scenes, chases and gun fights, and it rarely gives you chance to breathe, although given it’s fairly short runtime, that’s not an issue. It’s a relatively simple storyline and one that relies on its characters to add depth to it, which they generally do pretty well. However, out of nowhere it throws a series of plot revelations and new characters at you which, given the fairly simplistic narrative up to that point, can feel a little disorientating. performances are generally good, although the script and film’s length limits how much we know abut some of the characters. Hugo, for instance, is an intriguing character who could have benefited from a little more depth.

Point Blank is nothing we haven’t seen before, but it carries itself with style and is absorbing throughout. Its ending becomes slightly formulaic and, in parts, unnecessary, but there’s more than enough hear to entertain and keep your attention.

3 and a half pigeons

3.5/5 pigeons

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