First of, I didn't read the novel, so the whole discussion whether the film is bad because the book is better is irrelevant to me. Secondly, this didn't feel as a thriller at all. I know one thing, however: I watched this film and was deeply impressed by the casting, the acting -- in particular the protagonist's performance -- , the dialogue, and last but not least, the sets. This film truly deserves an Oscar if only because of the set decoration. I was allowed a 100 minutes peek into a dark, depressing world in which a stubborn, unflinching teenager fights for some security in a hostile world, an experience so intense that afterward it felt as though I had really met these individuals, traveled down there during a cruel winter and witnessed the behavior and way of living of these rough people in the Ozarks. If a film can do that, making us forget reality and live with fictional characters, truly feel the atmosphere of a particular place, then I think it has accomplished something. A remarkable movie!