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Archive for November 27th, 2009

Frozen River

 Shortly before Christmas Ray Eddy’s (Melissa Leo) gambling addicted husband takes off with the money they have set aside for a payment on their soon to be delivered new “double-wide” mobile home.  Only working part time, Ray is struggling to support her family until an opportunity presents itself. A chance encounter with young Mohawk woman, Lila Littlewolf starts a chain of events that result in the two women smuggling illegal aliens across the border in the trunk of Ray’s car.  They are able to drive across the frozen river of the title without being stopped by the border patrol as the there is a Mohawk reservation on both the U.S. and the Canadian side of the river where the border patrol have no jurisdiction.  They make several runs together and find the arrangement mutually beneficial, as Lila explains a white woman is far less likely to be stopped by the police once they have left the reservation.  Obviously things don’t always go to plan and there are some problems along the way but the film does have a strangely satisfying conclusion.

The acting is very low key with genuine sounding dialogue adding to the power of the story.  All the main cast are excellent not just Oscar-nominated Melissa Leo.  First time director Courtney Hunt has crafted an often beautiful film whose message strangely lies away from the people trafficking plot.

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