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Winter’s Bone 2010 ***

A pre Hunger Games and American Hustle Jennifer Lawrence displayed her acting chops in this terse backwoods thriller, in which she plays Ree, a young woman who is forced to trawl through the darker denizens of the Ozark mountain criminal fraternity in a bid to find her missing father. Writer/director Debra Granik captures the sights and sounds of Ree’s journey with observational skill and a sense of dread, with John Hawkes excellent as always as Teardrop, a crystal meth victim to offers ambiguous help to Ree in her quest. Like a Coen Brothers movie but without the oddball twists, Winter’s Bone builds to a startling revelation, and if the final scenes are a little too pat, Lawrence displays all the star-quality that would lead her to the top of the Hollywood tree.

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