Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Descendants...George Clooney relaxes into middle age! Mature entertainment hits mark!
Fans of George Clooney will want to catch his latest flick - "The Descendants" - if only to keep up-to-speed with the actor's body of work.
But, I have to issue a fair warning, nonetheless.
Though the charismatic actor is still an irresistible screen presence, for some, two-hour feature may be a little too slack-jawed and slow-paced to be worth the bother.
Personally, I rarely warm up to a script that relies on "voice overs" to not only introduce the characters - but also (to its detriment) - move along a problematic storyline that is inclined to falter at the starter's gate.
The "technique" is often overused by lazy (less-talented) writers who lack the skills to seamlessly weave the "thoughts" of the character unobtrusively so that the tale may unfold naturally without drawing attention to the devices that hold the glue together.
For patient filmgoers willing to hunker down, relax, and and wait until the story develops - as haphazardly and as slowly as it does here - it's a gem of a character study, though.
For George Clooney - who turns in an authentic nuanced performance - it may also prove to be a sure-fire winner when hosts at the Oscar celebrations next year reach for "the envelope".
"The Descendants" is an off-beat tale that walks a tightrope between drama and black comedy.
To his credit, the skilled director at the helm (Alexander Payne) never strays over-the-line or loses artistic balance.
Consequently, the filmmakers have delivered up a solid piece of storytelling that is sure to satisfy a mature sophisticated audience.
After all, the writers have successfully tackled delicate subjects pertaining to timely issues such as the environment, fidelity, core values in the nuclear family unit, aging, and even the touchy subject of the legality of advance directives.
When should the almighty "plug" be pulled?
There are no awesome smash-ups or requisite ten thrills-a-minute manipulating or seducing with special effects with the ultimate aim of luring potential ticket-holders into the screening room.
Sensitive and thought-provoking - given the opportunity - the just-released feature is truly capable of reaching out, touching, even resonating past the environs of the front lobby
Not a "date night" flick, necessarily, but definitely bill-of-fare for folks who yearn to to stroll out of the theatre feeling entertained and somewhat uplifted in spirit.
3 1/2 stars!
Shailene Woodley actress to keep eye on!