There’s a whole lot of mystery behind the stakes that drive Serenity as the film finds itself landing somewhere mixed between noir and thriller.
Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) finds himself in the same routine every day. Over and over, he plays the same game off of Plymouth Island: catch the fish. Everybody on the island as their place and they don’t really change up their routines at all. One day, Baker is shocked to find his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) visting from Miami. It turns out that their son needs his help. It turns out that her current husband, Frank (Jason Clarke), is an abusive asshole. Not only does Frank beat Karen but he thinks that her son Patrick (Rafael Sayegh) shouldn’t spend all day at his computer.
Karen has a $10 million plan. There’s just one problem. Baker is hesitant to kill someone. Even if it is in the best interest of their son, he absolutely refuses to leave Frank for dead with the sharks. With Karen in town, Baker has his entire life now thrown off track. Does he follow the law and do nothing or does he save the life of his family? These are the hard questions that Baker must ask himself.
The trailer, which I did not watch until starting to review the film manages to play up this mystery. Yeah, the film does have somewhat of a noir feeling. I felt this especially once Karen is seen wearing a hat as she walks into Baker’s place. I wouldn’t call it an outright thriller. There’s mystery surrounding Fontaine salesman Reid Miller (Jeremy Strong). He gets lines such as “We are such stuff that dreams are made off.” There may be some elements of the genre but I feel that this film offers less of the genre in particular.
The WTF moments in Serenity likely confirm why the studio decided to release the film in January. It’s certainly not a early fall film as original scheduled. Despite this start-studded cast, this is a typical January dump film. It’s not so much their performances but rather the script. It is very telling when you find yourself writing certain notes that prove to be true later on. It’s some sort of Truman Show-esque film except we never see this WTF moment coming at all. Not even in the trailer! These moments had me walking out of the screening room while asking myself, What the heck just happened?
While I like both Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, Serenity felt like a total letdown.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Steven Knight
CAST: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Diane Lane, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong