Winter's Bone Review

Gavin Midgley reviewed Winter's Bone on its cinema release and, as I agree entirely with what he says, I refer you here. Particularly worthy of commendation is Jennifer Lawrence's performance which, quite rightly, was Oscar-nominated. Debra Granik was maybe unfairly not also to be nominated. The film also has an excellent sense of a place and of a close-knit community closing ranks on someone seen to be poking her nose into matters that aren't her business.

The Disc: Artificial Eye's DVD release (there is also a Blu-ray edition) comprises a single dual-layered disc encoded for all regions.

Shot digitally on the Red One Camera at 4K resolution, Winter's Bone has a DVD transfer in the ratio of 1.85:1, anamorphically enhanced. I've seen Red productions that I would have mistaken for 35mm, but this isn't really one of them: its more digital in its look than filmlike (less grain) and shadow detail is limited in the darker scenes. I also noticed some edge enhancement. It's certainly sharp enough on the whole, and as I didn't see this film in the cinema this may well reflect the way this film looked originally.

The soundtrack mixes are a choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround (2.0). Optional English subtitles are available for the hard-of-hearing. There isn't much to choose from between the two tracks. Both are pretty much front and centre with little in the way of directional sound and surround usage. The 2.0 track is the default and is mixed a little louder than the 5.1.

The main extra is a pleasantly low-key making-of featurette (46:37). It's made up, as you would expect, of on-set and rehearsal footage, some “raw” scenes (that is, ungraded and with interviews with locals who worked on the production or appeared in the film itself. Some of their audition footage is shown. We also meet some of the animals who take part. There is no narration: captions identify key locations as appropriate.

An alternate opening (1:28) is in black and white, featuring Super 8 footage of young Ashlee Thompson (who plays Ree's younger sister Ashlee) and featuring local musicians – Marideth Sisco on vocals, Lee Ann Sours on fiddle – on the soundtrack.

Some deleted scenes include one in a Southern Missouri cave which was a highlight of the novel but didn't make the final cut of the film. The scenes are “Ree's Night in the Cave” (4:12), “Looking for Peanut Butter [a dog, for those who have not seen the film]” (1:18), “Singing by the Roadside” (2:00), “Ree and Gail in the Grocery Store” (2:45). These play one after the other as a single title, though you can skip forward to the next scene. With an opening caption, they run 10:37 in total.

The extras are completed by the trailer (2:13) and a music video, “Hardscrabble Elegy” (3:01), played by Dickon Hinchliffe

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