March 09, 2015

Serena (2014)

Serena (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Susanne Bier
Country: USA / others

Movie Review: Susanne Bier is a Danish filmmaker who counts with some auspicious dramas of great intensity in her career, such as “Open Hearts”, “Brothers”, “After the Wedding” and the Oscar winner “In a Better World”. Her latest feature, “Serena”, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence (the same pair of actors who did a brilliant job in “Silver Linings Playbook”), is her second Hollywood experience after “The Things We Lost in the Fire”. If “Love is All You Need” from three years ago, a cheesy romance with Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm, was a huge disappointment, “Serena”, despite slightly more interesting, still doesn’t give us enough for a film that tries to excel in such a demanding genres such as drama and thriller. The film was based on Ron Rash’s 2008 novel of the same name, illustrating the tragic story of George Pemberton (Cooper) whose timber empire keeps thriving. When he first sees Serena (Lawrence) in Boston, it was love at first sight. The couple got married right away, moving to George’s little town in North Carolina. Their life was running smoothly but suddenly becomes a nightmare after Serena, until then a confident wife and business partner, has had a miscarriage. The situation is aggravated by the fact that Mr. Pemberton already has a son with Rachel (Ana Ularu), a modest local woman, as well as by the presence of Galloway (Rhys Ifans), a strange ex-con henchman whose visions seem darkly connected to Serena. Christopher Kyle’s screenplay was unfaithful to the book, skipping some major details and the film was embroiled in complacent tones until the overcooked final part, when unsuccessfully tries to stir some excitement from the dramatic increase in pace. I couldn’t find anything really memorable in this depressive sort of western, beyond the unmitigated performance by Jennifer Lawrence.

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