Directed by Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier, who is known for taking on big and complicated stories, took a wrong turn with Serena. The movie is beautifully shot by Morten Søborg, but that is about as far as it goes, which makes this blog a little tough for me to write since I like to keep them positive.
Serena is a well-known book by Ron Rash and was adapted for the screen by Christopher Kyle. The movie has a stellar cast, beautiful backdrop. Yet, the production company had the movie in the can and on the shelf for two years before it ever premiered in the movie theaters. A sure sign something is amiss. Yet, the book is very popular with rave reviews on Amazon.
I watched the movie, and it’s a hodgepodge scenes that ends terribly. I was left empty for spending nearly two hours watching a beautifully shot movie, not caring about the characters in a story not worth watching.
Skilled adaption of a popular book is hard to fine.
The story takes place around the time of the Great Depression where we see classic automobiles and new empires being built from the bottom up with dedicated hard working individuals.
Jennifer Lawrence plays Serena, a beautiful and poignant young woman, who has a suspicious past involving her family’s lumber company in Colorado. Bradley Cooper plays George Pemberton, a logging magnate in Northern Carolina’s Smokey Mountains. The time is before the infamous stock market crash in 1929, which causes his ability to get a loan in peril. He also has to ward off a humane push to turn his land into a national park. That much is clear, but what is not clear is Serena’s role in his life. Sure. They love each other dearly, but what is the real story that caused Rash’s book to be so popular. What was left out of the movie or not explained in the movie that caused it to sit on the shelf for 2 years?
Serena becomes Bradley’s wife and partner of his lumber company. She does a dam good job. They both share a goal of moving to Brazil after they cash in on the Smokey Mountain timbers. One thing that I found ambiguous was Serena. She is a remarkable woman, who can out shoot and out ride any man, but she is neurotic or borderline psychotic. Her parents ran a logging company and were killed in a fire along with other members of the company. Serena was the sole survivor, and there is a hint she had something to do with the tragic fire.
Another unclear point is where Rachel, the mother of George’s illegitimate son, is put on the by George after her saves Rachel and his son from murder. She tells him she is going to meet up with Jacob, who will take care of her now. Who is Jacob? How come we didn’t see her and Jacob together before this scene?
I wish Bier made these plot points clear-cut. At the end of the movie the Serena’s suspicion becomes somewhat clearer. Yet, it means nothing because I am bored. The story is confusing and has a sad ending.