Nebraska could well just be subtitled as The Importance of Being Monotint. In a year where everyone and their cool grandma has gone back to black and white, Alexander Payne uses the absence of chroma better than most, or at least in a way that’s more viscerally effective. In two hours, Payne cobbles together a shockingly accurate portrait of the US’s flyover states, at least as envisioned by those of us living on the East and West coasts; they’re desolate, barren, cultural wastelands, places that time has forgotten, populated by people modernity has passed by. Seems like the perfect starting point for an acerbically funny critique of the world Payne himself…
Alexander Payne films are not my cup of tea. About Schmidt had its moments (awkward though they might have been) and I just couldn’t believe how over-hyped and mismarketed Sideways was. That said, I was not expecting to enjoy Payne’s latest film The Descendants. Payne directs this adaptaion of the Kaui Hart Hemmings novel of the same name which tells the story of yet another broken family who are equally down on their luck, but teach us that when unexpected tragedies arise it’s OK to no have all the answers. It was surprisingly enjoyable without becoming preachy or overly independent feeling and Clooney can certainly expect to receive a well deserved nod this Oscar season.