Down to the Bone

Down to the Bone (2005) movie poster

(2005) director Debra Granik
viewed: 05/23/11

After watching Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone (2010) last year, I decided to follow up by watching her first feature film, Down to the Bone, which I had recalled hearing good things about.  I don’t know why “Bone” is in the title of each one, so don’t ask me.

Down to the Bone stars Vera Farmiga as a drug-addicted mom who is struggling toward sobriety.  Shot on digital video, the film comes off as having a weird style.  The digital video gives a feel of documentary, maybe simply because that is where one sees this quality of digital video.  But Granik shoots the film in a more traditional narrative way, framing shots and editing the story as if it was shot on film.  Granik doesn’t try to embrace any Cinéma vérité style that might have worked with the digital video.  I suppose that digital video was used for cost-effectiveness, but I would say that rather than enhancing the story or style of the film, it seems to highlight its own non-cinematic shortcomings.  That’s my opinion anyway.

It’s not as strong a a film as Winter’s Bone, but it’s a good film.  Farmiga is good in the lead role and it’s well-done.  And I’m not finding a lot else to say about it, so I’ll leave it at that.

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