Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on January 2010
A single mother (Melissa Leo—21 Grams) living in poverty near the Mohawk reservation along the US-Canada border finds herself cooperating with an even poorer Native-American woman (Misty Upham) to smuggle aliens into the US, transporting them in the trunk of their car as they drive across the frozen St. Lawrence River. This heartrendingly elemental, near-flawless Sundance hit resists becoming a thriller, politics are not involved, and it’s not picturesque or sentimental. It’s sad and suspenseful, but compellingly watchable. How can a movie be so solidly grounded on thin ice?