Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Jason Clarke
Director: Steven Knight
I have so many questions. What was the point of this movie? Why was this movie made? Who thought this movie was a good idea? How did a movie like this get so many A-list actors to star in it? I’m just so confused after watching Serenity and I left the theater legitimately lost at almost everything regarding this movie. I should’ve known that even though I’ve seen promotional material for this film since about July of 2018, the push out to January was a death sentence. Between poor performances and jarring plot choices, Serenity offers the exact opposite feeling than what the title suggests.
The film follows Baker Dill (McConaughey) a fisherman who almost bankrupts himself going after a huge tuna. When Baker’s ex-wife Karen (Hathaway) and her rich, abusive husband Frank (Clarke) show up to the island for a fishing vacation, Karen offers to solve Baker’s financial woes, but it comes with a twist that tempts Baker and makes him question his sense of morality and what is truly right or wrong. I understand that talented actors may not always turn in their best performance of all time, but McConaughey in particular isn’t even so bad that’s it’s good, it’s a legitimately horrible performance. I’d even give McConaughey a pass if he didn’t take the role so seriously and tried to add some of his, “alright alright alright,” flair, but he treats this movie like it’s trying to make a deep cultural impact when in reality this film is complete nonsense. Hathaway isn’t exactly a standout in her own right, and when these two have scenes together, McConaughey has more chemistry with the fish than with his ex-wife. As if the acting wasn’t bad enough, as I mentioned earlier the story is just baffling and thinks it is so much smarter than it actually is. Nothing is properly explained, the twists come out of nowhere and range from jaw-droppingly stupid to the hardest eye-roll you’ve had in your life. I think the word, “pretentious,” gets overused a lot in movie reviews, but Serenity might go down as the most pretentious movie of the year. I can just hear the people responsible for this movie thinking to themselves, “that’ll shake up the audience,” as each scene was written and it never feels like these moments happened naturally but rather for the sole purpose of trying to make a statement. When a film introduces characters by doing quick, dramatic camera spins for emphasis that I haven’t seen since the early 2000s, you know that you’re probably in for a bad time. Trying to describe this movie to someone without them having seen it is nearly impossible. Imagine a combination of a sci-fi movie like The Matrix and a poorly made romantic drama like the Fifty Shades series. Sounds completely bizarre right? Well multiple movie industry professionals sat down and thought this is the type of movie people needed to see, but the critical and box office response speaks the real truth about this idea.
Overall, Serenity is proof that maybe I should just skip watching new releases until at least March. It’s pretty depressing when a movie with multiple popular, established performances can still be such a dud, but hopefully McConaughey and Hathaway bounce back with some of their more anticipated projects coming out later this year. For a movie that spends so much time on a boat, you’d think that they’d know not to treat their audience like shark bait, but Serenity just seems like one of those movies that was so much more interesting on paper and got dumped into January when executives realized it wasn’t.
Overall Score: 1/10