“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Nobody Move, This Is A Review: FROZEN RIVER
Desperate to make ends meet, mother-of-two Ray (Melissa Leo) joins forces with local Mohawk Lila (Misty Upham) to smuggle illegal immigrants across the border between the US and Canada. In theory it should be easy: the Mohawk reservation extends across the border, and the local police have no jurisdiction on Mohawk land, but the frozen river the women need to cross while transporting their illicit cargo is the least treacherous obstacle in their way. A superb performance from Melissa Leo carries what might have been a standard noir tale, although what gives writer-director Courtney Hunt’s story an unconventional edge are the female leads, resulting in a downbeat and desolate Thelma and Louise. Ray and Lila aren’t out for post-feminist kicks, though – they break the law because they need to eat, and it’s the domestic aspect to Ray’s downward spiral that gives Frozen River its poignant edge, while a couple of scenes – particularly the one with the ‘misplaced’ baby – are truly heartbreaking. Shot crisply, cheaply but effectively, and with a good eye for the hauntingly bleak surroundings of northern New York State, this is as good a crime movie as you’ll see all year. ****