Friday, 3 February 2012

The Descendants = Grace is Gone + Up in the Air

I am disappointed with The Descendants. It is a good serious film, every bit worthy of all the Oscar buzz it has been generating, but there is just too much going on. Too many strands in too small a premise. Clooney doesn't play a character too far in essence from what he played in Up in the Air. In fact, I am starting to believe that these characters resemble him somehow, though Clooney is never the kind of actor who would reveal too much of himself to the outside world. The similarities with Grace is Gone is in the basic premise itself- A father and two daughters dealing with the wife/mother's loss. The constant swearing by the kids starts from being funny to plain annoying. The film is too full of cliches. What woman would prefer Matthew Liliard to George Clooney? As far as the "descendants" bit go, it is an interesting theory of holding on to family inheritance that one has barely made use of, but the question is for how long. Sooner or later, real estate temptations will give in. Not that too many of us are familiar with what its like to own giant stretches of land and never know what to do with it. And if we did have it, would we have just left it like that? Is that really what the human mind is capable of conceiving?
The Descendants is also a very long film. A.O. Scott especially likes the film because of its pace, but I don't know whether the wait is really worth it. Because there is a neat, little, even cliched ending. When you go to watch a film, if it behaves like it has a semblance of a plot, you want to see that it is carried out till the end. "The Descendants" never figures out what it wants to be. Just like Clooney's character in the film.