The buzz amongst the critics and Hollywood types in-the-know that wander around Bernie-wood is that George Clooney will be in the running for Best Actor come Oscar time. I was trying to remember which other movies he has so elevated. Certainly O Brother, Where Art Thou. Maybe Three Kings? Oceans Eleven was meh. I did not see Up In The Air - I found the book a bit torpid. So here in this 2011 release, starring as the much troubled Matt King, Clooney has found a career defining role. With little deference to the soundtrack of O Brother, Matt King IS the Man of Constant Sorrow.
Without giving away too much: His wife is in a coma. He is the linchpin in a family trust that must decide on how to divide a little slice of paradise in Hawaii. His daughters are on the road to the borstal. His father-in-law (in a brilliant cameo by Robert Forster) is a curmudgeon. You can feel the weight building on Matt King's shoulders as his past, present and future close in. And then there is that slimy realtor he needs to deal with... It's all a bit like The Police song On Any Other Day. Claustrophobic to say the least.
Based on a 2008 novel of the same name, The Descendants plot is very good and the acting excellent. Especially Kings daughters and stoner boyfriend. The scenes around the Hawaiian islands make you want to get on Expedia. (I left the cinema humming Tiny Bubbles). The film was directed by Alexander Payne, his long awaited follow-up to the excellent Sideways (2004).
The movie theater was packed but if I ever have to sit beside the jackwagon to my left who yakked throughout the film - you will read about me in the paper.
I give The Descendants 4.5 out of 5.