More traditional indie drama than crime movie, it's less gripping and a little more nuanced than either The Town and Animal Kingdom, but all 3 are well acted.
The movie is nominated for 4 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (John Hawkes), and Adapted Screenplay. Had I seen this back in the Summer, predicting a nomination for Lawrence would have been a no-brainer (in large part because the distributor/producers were distributing screener copies of the movie to members of various guilds and academies back in October, a plan that often works well for targeted nominations [SEE ALSO: Melissa Leo in Frozen River, which also picked up an Original Screenplay nod]).
I would not have predicted John Hawkes's nomination, but he's rock solid in the role. In competition with Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush, I think he should relax and enjoy the evening. The Independent Spirit Awards will be a showdown between him and Mark Ruffalo, who I keep forgetting is nominated as well.
Which brings me back around to Lawrence. I can see her winning. At the very least, I think she's going to hold her own with Natalie Portman and Annette Bening in final voting.
By the way, this has the qualities of the best of "indie" cinema--great acting in a small, but engaging story, that's artfully assembled without any big, lavish effects. It also raises compelling questions like "does your chain saw work under water?" Well done.
I really wish Bening had put herself in supporting... sigh.