Directed by: Alexander Payne
Written by: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash (screenplay), Kaui Hart Hemmings (novel)
Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller and Nick Krause
Snap reactions and the surprised double-take have always been two important tools in George Clooney’s acting kit. Alexander Payne is noted as a director for having actors explore realms outside of that familiar skill set. Perhaps most infamously, Payne stripped Jack Nicholson of his raised eyebrows and charisma in About Schmidt and had the actor play a shy, desperate man. It’s one of his best performances.
In The Descendants, Payne has Clooney blend in. His washed-out mess of hair and beach bum attire look misplaced and familiar at the same time. Emerging from that sly, smirky facade is an actor capable of true grit.