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Cook County

One's tolerance for Cook County, a dysfunctional family melodrama set amid the chaos of a family home/meth lab in East Texas, is proportional to one's capacity to discover fresh revelations in monotonous scenes of tweaked-out, barking, back-and-forth confrontation. Teenaged Abe (Ryan Donowho) attempts to protect six-year-old Deandra (Makenna Fitzsimmons) from her father, Abe's Uncle "Bump" (Anson Mount). Abe finds an ally when his father, Bump's older brother, Sonny (Xander Berkeley), comes home from prison, now cleaned up and following a mysterious agenda of his own. The family's ostensible patriarch, Pee Paw (Tommy Townsend), is absent, slumping catatonically around the house as Bump threatens to introduce his daughter to the pipe and worse—the clannish Southern family has much disintegrated since the days of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Cook County begins with Bump delivering a monologue, between hits, to a strung-out skank, his verbal run changing pace from megalomania to boyish bullying to a Manson-like charisma. Bump's character is completely mutable according to the itch and scratch of his addiction, and Mount makes the high stakes of this crapshoot personality vivid. The performance is a malevolently glowing ember at the film's center, dampened everywhere by the other merely adequate ones, uninvolving stock situations, and sloppy conception. Rather than viewing moral chaos from the eye of a storm, director David Pomes watches his movie blow off into the storm itself.

 
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3 comments
Jules
Jules

This film should be bigger than it is, extremely raw and the acting was very truthful. Absolutely loved the film, and thought it was better than 'Winter's Bone' (don't get me wrong, Winter's Bone is also awesome). The acting was phenomenal, I thought Ryan Donowho as Abe was very consistent and he nailed his monologue in the middle of the film where he questioned his father about his absence for the past two years. Also, from the very beginning of the film he played the addiction before it was made completely apparent in the last few scenes. He definitely stole the lime light and was the star in this film. Anson Mount was also wonderful, he really made you hate him...and when an actor does that you know he is doing a damn fine job. The moment in the end where he is given the option between the money he needs or his daughter's welfare - the close-up shot for about 10 - 20 seconds is just flawless. It captured his thought process, contemplation, guilt, addiction...a whirlwind of emotions and madness. His development from point A (being his conundrum) to point B (the solution, his decision) is purely captured in his facial expression and eyes - amazing acting.

I barely ever can sit through a film twice, but I went back later that week and saw the film a second time. And now I'm intent on buying it on DVD...

MrMalicious
MrMalicious

This will probably not be 2011's "Winter's Bones", but I still want to check it out

Guest
Guest

It's not, it's better.

 

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