Film Review: Serenity

Directed by Steven Knight, Serenity follows Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey), a fishing boat captain who leads tours off a tranquil, tropical enclave called Plymouth Island. He lives a quiet, sheltered life, which is soon shattered when his ex-wife, Karen (Anne Hathaway), tracks him down with a desperate plea for help. She begs Dill to save her and their young son from her new, violent husband, Frank (Jason Clarke). She offers him $10 million to take him out to sea on a fishing excursion and to throw him to the sharks. Karen’s appearance thrusts Dill back into a life he’d tried to forget, and as he struggles between right and wrong, his world is plunged into a new reality that may not be all that it seems.

Rating:

Serenity is definitely one of those “What the fuck?!” films that makes you think, “But did I actually like it?”

I read about the film’s twist a few months ago because I thought that it was a joke article, and then I realised that it was actually true. So I went into this with no surprises, but I was also prepared for the worst.

The film could have been a lot more subtle in its revelation, but its ending certainly makes it unique. Unique, but also completely messed up when you think too much into it.

Its intentions are good and it even comes across as heartwarming at the end. But it’s just weird. There’s so much going on to distract you from the heart of the story that the focus feels like it’s all in the wrong place. I was hoping for a stylish, sexy thriller, but what you get is far from any of that.

I really wanted to like this but there’s just too much that annoyed me about this film. For a start, I really didn’t like the character of Reid Miller and felt that he only got in the way. He actually didn’t add anything to the storyline, either, as Dill could have figured things out for himself and revealed the twist in a much more impacting way.

I also didn’t see the need for Karen to refer to her husband as “Daddy”. Any use of that word just makes me feel queasy and, instead of feeling sorry for her, I just found her character annoying and unsympathetic. I couldn’t tell if she was only acting scared or if she actually was terrified of her abusive husband. Her false persona just didn’t feel relatable. You would have thought that her son would have reimagined her character as more likeable, looking up to her and emphasising her desperation. Instead, she’s a weak damsel with no dimension.

When I look at the whole plot line, I really love the idea of this film. But it just doesn’t work. And as much as I really wanted to like this, I only come away wishing that it was better.

Serenity is now available in UK cinemas and on Sky Cinema.

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