Sunday, July 14, 2019

Movie Review: "Serenity" (2019)

Director: Steven Knight
Year: 2019
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes

A man named Baker Dill, who hiding out on a remote island working as the captain of a charter fishing boat, is found by his ex-wife, who offers him a large sum of money to kill her current abusive-but-wealthy husband. Baker's only desire, however, is to fish, but an unforeseen compulsion may start to change his mind.

Movie still for the 2019 film Serenity featuring Matthew McConaughey and a blonde Anne Hathaway
"What I have in my hands may change your life and give you the one thing you've always wanted." (Image Source)
Viewers who watching "Serenity" looking for a straight-up crime mystery (like the trailers promised) will be sorely disappointed. Those who enter the film with an open mind ready to believe the wild concepts thrown at them may, like us, find something to appreciate in this bonkers story. "Serenity" is written and directed by Steven Knight, who is known for directing the critically acclaimed single-location drama "Locke," as well as writing films like "Dirty Pretty Things" and "Eastern Promises." This story revolves around a charter fishing boat captain named Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey), who lives on a small remote island and spends his days chasing the massive tuna fish that evaded him years prior. One day out of nowhere, his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway), who is now married to a wealthy but cruel man named Frank (Jason Clarke), shows up asking Baker to murder her current husband and offers him $10 million to do so. Baker refuses at first, but once Frank shows just how terrible he is in real life, he reconsiders the proposition.
Movie still for Steven Knight's film Serenity where Diane Lane unbutton's Matthew McConaughey's shirt
"Just me, you, and the motherfuckin' tuna." (Image Source)
We're going to do our best not to spoil "Serenity" even though it is hard to explain the good and the bad without doing so. The concept of the movie is a bit "out there," and it goes far beyond the basic noir crime thriller it is marketed to be. When the layers are peeled back and when the actual intentions of the story and what it's about are revealed, you'll either be on board with the twist or you will absolutely hate it. We were on board with it, shockingly enough. Sure, the plot is pretty crazy and hysterical, and it's painfully obvious that Knight is trying to express an emotional journey through what some may call a hamfisted metaphor, but we cannot deny that we were entertained by it all in its zaniness. Much of the dialogue sounds very cheesy and is delivered as if it were pulled straight from the pages of a dime-store mystery novel, but when all is ultimately revealed, it sort of makes sense why that's the case, at least that's how we interpreted it. The characters are single purpose-driven and are akin to classic archetypes, including the reluctant hero, the devious villain, smoldering temptress, and the helpless damsel, but again, when the truth comes out, it makes sense why this is the case. Because the characters are essentially putting on a play with their actions, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, and Jason Clarke give strange, eccentric, showy, over-the-top performances but fulfill their roles perfectly.
Movie still for Serenity (2019) where Jason Clarke's character Frank faces at the ocean while Anne Hathaway's character Karen watches behind him
"Now it seems the fish is no longer the point." (Image Source)
It's hard to do "Serenity" justice because it's just so batshit abstract and mad. We feel this movie, like many others that were initially lambasted by critics and died horrible deaths at the box office, could find a cult following if people would only look beyond the surface and dig a little deeper. It's certainly entertaining enough, and its concept is one of those 'outside the box' ideas that niche groups may love. It may eventually find its proper audience (rather than the crime mystery crowd it was marketed toward), but then again, maybe not. Still, we enjoyed "Serenity" for at least attempting to do something distinctive, which is more than we can say for most of the crap dramas we've seen this year.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.3/10
RT Rating: 19%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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