Thanks to STUDIOCANAL we had the chance to see Susanne Bier’s ‘Serena’ before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself!
The film is set in the 1920s, in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains, and centres on George Pemberton’s (Bradley Cooper) small-town timber business – conditions are tough, the workers are paid low salaries, and there is a deforestation problem on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. The young entrepreneur, however, knows every trick in the book and will do the impossible to keep his business running, against the sheriff’s will.
While out on business one day, he meets Serena (Jennifer Lawrence), a young girl whose life has been struck by tragedy, but whose beauty and grace captivates him from the very beginning. The couple quickly fall in love, marry, and move back to the Smoky Mountains.
Ruthless Serena will use all of her skills to prove that she has what it takes to protect the business. After a short time, she falls pregnant, but miscarries, losing her child in the last trimester. She subsequently loses the plot and begins to plan a series of murders, with the help of an ex-convict who will do everything she asks.
The film is an overload of drama, spiced with eroticism, and murder. However, it fails to impress, as it is confusing, slow, and so difficult to categorise that you find you don’t even know what you’re watching. Lawrence brings a fantastic performance to another superb role, injecting her character with intensity and passion. Although Cooper makes a good impression, it’s doubtful that he was the best choice for his role – it would seem more suitable for the likes of Russell Crowe, or Tom Hardy. Nevertheless, the famous duo, seen previously in ‘American Hustle’ and ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, don’t quite work, owing also to lack of tension in the script and the weird plot (many moments are over-the-top and unnecessary).
‘Serena’ hits Australian cinemas this Thursday, 27th November.