Sorry that I am late posting this as I’ve been rather busy. Anyway…
The Descendants (2011) is a film directed by Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt) that follows the journey of Matt King (George Clooney) a lawyer in Hawaii who attempts to resolve his monotonous life by reconnecting with his two daughters after his wife is seriously injured in a boating accident.
Similarly to Sideways, The Descendants often works best when it allows the characters to create the story through their own actions rather than trying to fit the characters into a predetermined scenario. The characters move the story forward and overall Payne does an excellent job at crafting a group of characters with flaws but plenty of depth and who all have some likability. This is thanks largely to the performances especially George Clooney’s acting which is emotive without being overbearing and also the dialogue which feels realistic.
“Why did I not complete this review on time?”
The pacing of the film is smooth and it feels as though each moment is given the appropriate amount of time on screen. The camerawork is simple but effective especially in the underwater scene pictured above. The colours help to set the tone of the film and often contrast what one would expect to see in Hawaii which reflects the inner soul of our protagonist.
The sub-plot of the film is a welcome distraction from the depressing nature of the rest of the film and helps to add to the overall theme of ancestry and that even though we may pass on, there is always something we leave behind.