Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
The Ozark back country depicted in this film is one that Facebook and Twitter have ignored. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
Here is a backwoods society where everyone seems related in one way or another but where family ties don’t mean jack if you’re suspected of talking about the criminality that seems to pervade every layer of society.
17 year old Ree’s father has been arrested for cooking meth but has skipped bail. Problem is he put the ramshackle house up as collateral. If he doesn’t show up for his court date, the family — which Ree now leads — will be homeless. So Ree sets out to locate him, dead or alive, all the time juggling taking care of her little brother and sister and her mentally handicapped mother.
It’s not a pretty picture. There is much tension here. Those who have experienced the comforts of middle class will have a hard time watching the selfish and cruel nastiness that members of this impoverished community are so ready to visit on each other.
Ree experiences this all firsthand as she seeks out to find the whereabouts of her father and begins to put together a picture of where he is and why people are so eager to distance themselves from her.
It sounds pretty grim. It is. But this film is small gem. In the midst of depair we see hope and determination.
Movie review copyright (c) 2011 by Dennis D. McDonald