Last month’s Academy Awards were all fairly straightforward: Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, some feel-goody Slumdog-ing, etc. But for those wondering about Frozen River, which pulled nominations in two major categories—for star Melissa Leo and writer-director Courtney Hunt for screenplay—the film will be available starting this weekend on Time Warner On Demand (Channel 1000). Ms. Leo stars as long-suffering Ray Eddy, an upstate New York woman who has been promising her kids a double-wide trailer only to watch her gambling-addicted husband vanish with the money. Desperate, she searches for him, but ends up finding a young Mohawk woman (Misty Upham) instead; through a couple of quick twists and turns, the two women form an uneasy partnership smuggling illegal immigrants across the (frozen) river into the U.S. from Canada. Things get creepy and kind of dangerous pretty quickly, and Ms. Hunt certainly knows how to build up the suspense (you’ll be fully on edge by the end). But she also knows when to drop back and let the eerily beautiful landscapes and women’s faces do the explaining. The film took the big prize when it debuted at Sundance last year. After watching it, you’ll understand why.