Mr. Movie

'Frozen River' will heat up Leo's career

Writer/director Courtney Hunt proves that you don’t need a big budget, or a big star to create a masterpiece.

Frozen River is nothing fancy. Her screenplay is as sparse as her film’s title and takes its characters on a slow, methodical and fascinating march toward disaster.

Two women with nothing, yet everything in common, share a dark, bleak, hopeless future.

The worthless husband of the white woman abandons her and the kids just when they are on the verge of getting their dream home. She needs cash in a hurry to save her investment and Christmas.

The Mohawk woman can’t have custody of her only child.

With cold reality closing in on them faster than the frozen New York winter, the desperate women get a job smuggling illegals into the U.S. from Canada by driving them across the frozen St. Lawrence River.

Melissa Leo and newcomer Misty Upham star. You will likely hear more about Leo’s sparse, determined, yet doomed performance come awards time at the end of the year.

If enough people see this movie she has an excellent shot to pocket one or two.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars

Rated R for mature themes, language. It opens Friday at the Carmike 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.