4.0, United States/Canada

Frozen River

2008 / Courtney Hunt > So glad to see Hunt and lead Melissa Leo get proper acknowledgment from the Academy. Slipping under the radar of most moviegoers, Frozen River is a surprising and equally as effective drama with an element of crime that does an excellent job of objective storytelling. The script deals with morality and ethnic boundaries in the most delicate manner while holding no punches. The characters are fleshed out, the plot developed and the tension builds steadily. I can only imagine how much better a film Gran Torino would have been if it had taken some notes from this instead of hurling heavy-handed stereotypes and amateur acting onto the screen. In a year where studio films have dominated, this is a proud accomplishment from the indie scene.