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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

Serenity

"Preposterous"

Steven Knight’s new thriller Serenity is one of those preposterous films that gives you answers without ever telling you what the question was. Matthew McConaughey stars as a fishing boat captain somewhere called Plymouth Island. His estranged ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) tracks him down to convince him to save her and their son by murdering her current abusive husband (Jason Clarke). With a plot so general, Knight could have filled in all the blanks with material that can exhale on its own and make sense of all surroundings. Instead of doing this, he created a dark cloud that towers over all sanity, completely erasing any chance of normalcy from any of the characters.


Individually, McConaughey and Hathaway’s performances are average. Yet, combined together, their chemistry brings out a little spark but not enough to save these people from themselves. These are people that know each other so well and have so much history. As a result, you can't help but know who they are individually when they’re together. You know McConaughey is heartbroken and hardened while Hathaway is angry and manipulative. When together, you see this but when they’re alone, they are nothing because they are one and the same person. One does not exist without the other. Clark’s performance as Hathaway’s violent husband is at least humorous as he’s such a loser one would it hard to believe someone so dumb is capable of such abuse.


The other supporting performances of Jeremy Strong, Djimon Hounsou and Diane Lane are sadly just staged pawns in Knight’s script. They’re not terrible but they’re not good either. They are characters that simply exist to make Knight’s life easier. He can put them in the script when they’re needed and then get rid of them when it’s not convenient for him anymore.


The cinematography of Plymouth Island isn’t as impressive as I predicted as it's beautiful and sunny, but it doesn't look like a real place. If I were going on a tropical vacation, I’d look elsewhere. Even if thrillers are poorly made, they try to at least be entertaining and Serenity is definitely not. Watching it is like being given a complicated math problem you can’t figure out. You know the film has an important purpose but as a viewer, you can never figure out what it is. It’s only the beginning of 2019. Either see something else or wait for better films to come along. No matter how you manage to analyze the film, Serenity is the last thing you will feel.

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