Frozen River

"Excellent"

Frozen River Review


This film couldn't really be more timely if it tried, as it traces the length to which a fractured family is willing to go to survive financial turmoil. And each situation and relationship is beautifully rendered on screen.

In upstate New York, Ray (Leo) is struggling to cope after her husband ran off with their house-payment savings. Her sons TJ (McDermott), 15, and Ricky (Reilly), 5, don't really understand what's happened but want to help. Then Ray meets the Mohawk native Lila (Upham) and teams up to make some quick cash by driving across the frozen river to Canada and smuggling illegal immigrants back into the USA. But this is very dangerous business, and both woman will have to examine the risks they're taking.

With gently rhythmic filmmaking, Hunt carefully builds the setting to such a degree that we actually begin to understand the fragile relationship between the people of the reservation, with their own laws and culture, and the residents of New York state. It's a tricky collision of people with very different backgrounds, and in Ray and Lila the script finds a terrific central duo to explore the issues. These women are warm and steely, and they really shouldn't get along at all, let alone trust each other.

Leo gives a quietly brilliant performance as Ray, a woman pushed beyond desperation to protect her children and make some very difficult decisions.

This isn't flashy acting; it's raw and earthy and powerfully involving. And she bounces wonderfully off of Upham's wonderfully sardonic, matter-of-fact Lila.

Meanwhile, the various men and boys who float around them add grit and texture, as do the two men we never meet: the ones who abandoned them.

This is an intriguing edge of Western culture, where everyone seems to have a gun that they're not afraid to wave around. Hunt uses the setting to create a real sense of impending tragedy, as we spend much of the film afraid to see what's going to happen to these people next. And since we really grow to care about them, the surprising twists and turns in the final act are both powerful and haunting.



Frozen River

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Friday 31st October 2008

Box Office USA: $2.1M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 112 Rotten: 16

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Courtney Hunt

Producer: , Heather Rae

Starring: as Ray Eddy, as Lila Littlewolf, as TJ, John Canoe as Bernie Littlewolf, Jay Klaitz as Guy Versailles, Dylan Carusona as Jimmy, James Reilly as Ricky, as Trooper Finnerty, as Jacques Bruno

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.