Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in the Ozark Mountains with her younger brother and sister and her mum who is suffering from a crippling form of mental disease. Dolly is determined to find her missing father after he places their house as his bail bond and to make sure that her family will be able to live in their home.
As Dolly searches for her father, she confronts some dark and serious characters, including her uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes) who keeps himself away from her family and wants nothing to do with the search for her father and she also meets Merab (Dale Dickey), the wife of a dangerous man who was could have information on her father or not.
The entire cast do a brilliant job at portraying their characters and this is especially true with Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes. Lawrence in particular, plays the sort of character that other young actresses would not really approach and she deserves the praise she has received.
John Hawkes is really hands-on with his portrayal as the aggressive and cold-hearted uncle and during the course of the film, we see that his character starts to get a bit of affection for his family; it is a complex and convincing performance. Although he is not in the film as much as some of the other characters, he really stands out.
To show off the mountainous locations, Granik decided to use blue lighting for the exterior locations, while giving the interior locations some faint amber lighting which enhances the bleak tone. Granik’s work here is entirely worthy of his Sundance win and I cannot wait to see what she will do next.
It is definitely worth seeing at cinemas, though it might not be the kind of film that you would like to see again and again on DVD due to its really gritty narrative and appearance, do try and see this when you can.
Here’s the trailer.