Monday, February 27, 2012

The Descendants

I watched a George Clooney film the other day, just in time to inspire me to root for him in the Oscars. Sadly, he did not win. But if I were George Clooney, just knowing that this film was made and I am in it will be enough too.

The primary story is that of a man, initially an indifferent husband, whose wife met an accident and fell into a coma. While she was sleeping the sleep of the brain-dead, he learned that his wife was cheating on him; in fact, she was with her lover the day she had the accident. That’s just one of his problems. He is also a prima faci real estate lawyer who descended from Hawaiian royalty and is now handling the biggest sale and turnover of Kauai land to mainland developers.

True, the latter storyline is a social commentary; the previous sounds like the dime-a-dozen melodrama. However, the movie was able to dip and dive between the two stories and turned it into a seamless whole. And in the midst of it all is Matt King (Clooney) who unravels before our very eyes.

The centerpiece of this movie is George Clooney 2.0. I have always had a soft spot for George, him and those adorable eyes and the offbeat charm. For all I observed, that’s still him on display in this movie, but much more refined like all the best wines. If acting was a sport like fencing, his delivery was always en pointe. Not a small feat if the emotion you’re trying to get across is something as subtle as confusion, indecision and bravura. The best line for me would be what Matt utters to his dying wife as a means of saying goodbye:

“Goodbye, Elizabeth. Goodbye, my love, my friend, my pain, my joy. Goodbye, goodbye. Goodbye.”

The cast of characters that supports him are nothing short of brilliant. I mean, even the usually lousy Beau Bridges managed to hold off a little on his boorish acting and became something a little more tangible in this movie.

Having watched Moneyball earlier, and having heard all the comparisons between Brad and George vying for the Best Actor trophy (which none of them did anyhow, it goes to Jean DuJardin), I’d say George came out the winner. By a far cry.

I haven’t done this movie critiquing thing for a while, but if you ask me, I say watch it. Even if nothing blows up, or you’ve had enough of revenge movies, or you hate Hawaiian shirts. Watch it anyway. That’s the only way you could say you saw one of the best movies of 2011. Because The Descendant is truly transcendent in every way.