I went to see "Serena" which is on general release now around Australia. Apparently this film has had a bit of a hiccup entry having been made two years ago but the producers were still a little unsure about how to serve it up to general audience. It is now out so you can go and see it and make up your mind about what you think of this film which has had mixed reviews.
It was directed by Susanne Bier who has a number of good films to her name. There is an impressive set of actors who star in it. My favourite is, without doubt, the hunky blue eyed Bradley Cooper who is just gorgeous to look at and if the film's story line has anything to do with how you view him, he redeems himself in the film as a just and moral person. He is a business man and logger working in Northern Carolina around the time of the Depression in the US, with partners and practices that are corrupt and suspicious and very hard on the working man. He is building his little logging empire, but also struggling to meet his financial obligations, and thinks that he has it all when he meets "Serena". They fall in love quickly and quite passionately and we see them planning their life together in the depths of North Carolina with all that this harsh life has to offer them both.
She, Jennifer Biel is a bit of sugar and spice on the surface but like Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl which was on our screens not so long ago, hides a deeper, darker side which events in the film help uncover. It is a side that is not enviable or likeable and even he is shaken in the discovery of what she is capable of doing.
The cinematography by Morten Soborg I found very beautiful and the forests are magnificent. You can feel the early morning chill and the autumnal air. It raises an interesting picture of how logging was the thing to do at the time to earn you the money and keep the men in work – how the thought of forming a National Park seemed, at the time, pure lunacy. How things have changed on that front. The film incidentally was shot in the Czech republic.
This period drama is full of it – the costumes and the settings are carefully and tastefully done and the love affair between the two actors sweeps you part of the way. The problem however is that as the film progresses there is a sense of foreboding and almost an unfolding of events reminiscent of a Greek Tragedy. There is retribution and revenge, there is death and dying and there is a finality to it which is a little contrived.