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Playing a resourceful young teen, Jennifer Lawrence is magnificent in this gripping, grimly authentic thriller.

Director Debra Granik’s movie is one of the best crime dramas of recent years and what makes it particularly striking is the fact that it is set in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, a part of the US that has been devastated by addiction to crystal meth.

As the lynchpin of one such stricken clan, Lawrence’s Ree Dolly must find her missing drug-dealer father within a week or see her family evicted from their backwoods home. Yet when she begins doggedly searching among her close-lipped and menacing neighbours, she encounters obstruction and malice at every turn.

Lawrence’s Oscar-nominated performance dominates the film, but she gets impressive support from fellow Oscar nominee John Hawkes, as her loyal but scarily dangerous uncle.