Frozen River is a 2008 film about smuggling on the Mohawk Reservation across the US Border in upstate New York.
0 out of 10 stars. This is literally a film with no purpose. Just two hours of depression and vile people. When they threw the baby out the window that was it for me.
This is a stark view of how poor people live, the dumb poor people. Melissa Leo plays Ray Eddy, a mom with two boys and a gambling husband who robs her right before Christmas and takes the down payment for their double wide trailer (with insulation so the pipes won’t freeze). She goes looking for Troy (the husband) and finds his car outside a Mohawk reservation casino. When she goes inside to ask if she can look for him, they say no and a Native American woman steals Troy’s car. So Ray chases her. The woman is Lila Littlewolf, who has a one year old son that was taken right out of the hospital at birth by her dead husband’s mother. Apparently on reservation land, that’s perfectly legal and the tribal police won’t do anything about it. She smuggles people across the border on reservation land, which apparently is legal but frowned upon by the tribal leaders who can ban you from the tribe (which incidentally happens at the end).
Ray answers a phone call from her teenage son TJ, who steals old ladies’ credit card numbers and sells them, and Lila hears she needs money fast, so she tells her she knows someone who will buy Troy’s car without papers. Then she takes her across the border on Mohawk land, driving across the frozen river. There a man hands her $1200, tells her to pop the trunk, and two Chinese men get inside. Lila holds her at gunpoint and forces her to drive them across the border then pistol whips her, tries to steal her car, and ends up running with all the money. :0
Ray works at the dollar store part time. She’s worked there two years and was promised full-time 18 months ago, but her awkward, overweight, unattractive white male teenager boss refuses to give her the hours. Welcome to America where white men can do anything and everyone else has to bow to them to keep their jobs. She asks one more time before going to Lila and asking for another run.
On this run, Lila explains that the people pay snakeheads $50,000 to get into the U.S. with no idea how safe they’ll be. When they get to the US they have to pay off the balance of what they owe, which often takes a decade. The first two runs are Chinese men. The next run is a Pakistani couple. When they don’t tell Ray what’s in the bag they’re carrying, she assumes they’re terrorists and throws their bag out the window onto the frozen river as they’re driving (the parents are in the trunk), only to learn when they unload that a baby was in that bag. They drive back out looking for the baby, but at least an hour has passed and the baby is frozen and not breathing. Ray tells Lila to hold the baby anyway and warm it up and miraculously the baby begins breathing again. (In real life, there would be frost bite and the baby would be screaming.)
Ray gets enough money for most of the down payment on the double wide trailer and enough to pay the Rent-to-Own people the $255.50 she owes on their TV. She doesn’t own it, that’s all interest.
In the last run, they are forced to go to Montreal where a creepy guy gives them two Chinese girls who are half dressed and shoots Ray in the head (she lives). Border patrol chases them across the river and the car cracks and falls halfway through the ice, so everyone is out on foot. They go to the reservation where they hide out, but the tribal elders ban Lila from the reservation and Ray is arrested. She gives Lila the money for the down payment and tells her to watch over her kids. She gets 4-6 months.
0 out of 10 stars. Can’t understand why this was made into a film. If you’re looking for two hours of senseless stupidity, criminal activity, depraved behavior, and depression, this is your film.