Diego Ongaro's Bob And The Trees is a minimalist character study of Bob, a fifty-something year old logger, who is struggling to make a living during the deep winter in rural Massachusetts. Bob is a man who has never been afraid of hard work, yet the ever-changing environment around him, related to both the economy and his aging body, have left him in a constant state of stress and struggle, with pressure mounting. When his beloved cow is mysteriously wounded, and his latest logging job stumbles into unforeseen problems, Bob's mental state begins to slowly unravel, as he begins to suspect that foul play is involved. Diego Ongaro's Bob And The Trees is a slow-burning exercise in tension and internal struggle, an introspective and meditative experience detailing a man in Bob whose increasing desperation leads him down a path of anger and hostility. As a character, Bob is a man who is slowly grated by the stress and uncertainty of his livelihood, with the film doing a fantastic job at documenting his slow descent into increasing desperation and by proxy anger and hostility towards others. Bob's profession, one rooted in masculinity, toughness, and resolve, makes it hard for him to show weakness or ask for help, being a character who has always been primarily responsible for providing for his family. He wishes to shield his wife and son from the economic issues they as a family are facing, yet all he does is alienate himself from them through his actions. Bob is a character who has grown detached from both his wife and son, a meat-and-potatoes type of guy whose too stubborn to ask for help. He is a character who is a self-made man, yet his inability to ask for help or seek support from others have left him in a place of alienation, with his exterior toughness and masculinity masking his underlying insecurities related to his fear of failure. As a characterization, Bob feels like an honest and genuine portrayal of a blue-collar logger, yet the film subverts expectations, in an successful attempt to avoid caricature, showcasing a man who also happens to have a soft spot for Gangster Rap- Immortal Technique, to be specific. While this slight character decision may seem superfluous on the surface, it only strengthens the story and characterization in the long run, as Bob feels much more like an independent, organic human-being with his own unique problems and insecurities. Detailing the importance of never being too headstrong to ask for help, Diego Ongaro's Bob and the Trees is an introspective character study of one man's struggle to survive in an ever-changing environment which surrounds him.
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