Most viewers probably didn’t pay attention to Ron “Stray Dog” Hall’s few scenes in the 2010 drama Winter’s Bone, but he did capture the attention of director Debra Granik. She was so intrigued by the RV park manager and biker that she made him the focal point of her next project. When Hall first appears as the subject of Stray Dog, people are going to make some assumptions based on his outward appearance, like his tattoos, roughneck friends, and a proclivity for moonshine. But in her brilliant storytelling, Granik reveals what’s happening below that surface. Hall is a valiant Vietnam War veteran who has admirably found peace with what he had to do to serve his country, and now is determined to lift up the lives of his friends and family back home in Missouri. It’s a classic example of a documentary that takes all of your preconceived notions and tosses them out the window.
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