Friday, August 26, 2011
Wow--I might have to read the source material for this film. Imagine Russell Banks and Cormac McCarthy working together on a screenplay. They try to out-grim each other, and then hire Tobe Hooper to direct. But Tobe Hooper has too much of a sense of humor so they ditch him.
Yeah, so I'm being a bit silly, but director Debra Granik has certainly studied films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Simple Plan, and Deliverance. Like these earlier works, Winter's Bone critiques America's cherished belief that its humblest backwoods citizens are somehow ethically superior to inhabitants of the crime-ridden cities on the coasts. Because Granik so ably holds a mirror up to nature, the film is quite uncomfortable to watch.
Winter's Bone is the best film I've seen in a long time. Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes certainly deserved nominations for their performances. And I might be awake for a while thinking about it tonight.
I Walked With a Zombie is another beautifully wrought confection by Val Lewton and Jacques Torneur. Yes, the voodoo religion and the Caribbean culture of San Sebastian are Hollywoodized to the point of cliche, but the film is moody and mysterious and gorgeous, plot holes and all. Is Carrefour the first shambling zombie in cinema history? He still freaks me out, after several viewings.