Serenity

Written and directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Steven Knight best known for directing 2014’s Locke and writing 2007’s Eastern Promises, Serenity is a high-concept film with largely disastrous results as a result of the preposterous twists and stilted acting performances. Set on a remote tropical island, the story follows the down-on-his-luck fisherman Baker Dill, played by Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey in an unusually unremarkable performance, who along with his partner Duke, played by Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou, take tourists on fishing expeditions out at sea. The divorced Baker who also struggles financially is fixated upon catching a particularly elusive large tuna he calls Justice and has lived on the island for years without seeing his son who lives in Florida. One day, his estranged ex-wife Karen, played by Oscar winner Anne Hathaway, shows up unannounced and propositions Baker to kill her abusive husband Frank, played by Jason Clarke, while out on a fishing trip. For the first part of the movie, it feels like a typical thriller but something feels amiss throughout much of the film, including the mysterious appearance of a businessman named Reid Miller, played by Jeremy Strong, and the almost telepathic relationship between Baker and his son Patrick who lives thousands of miles away. All of the unusual circumstances begin to make some sense towards the end of the movie with a truly bizarre and laughable twist revealing that not everything is as it seems to be in reality. It is hard not to underscore the ridiculousness of the film without giving away the major twist that the filmmaker attempts to use as a creative narrative device, which nevertheless fails epically. I found it difficult to imagine why A-list movie stars, which also includes Oscar nominee Diane Lane in a very minor and pointless role, would voluntarily sign up for such a mess of a movie. Overall, I was quite frankly astonished by the poor direction and writing, especially with such a great cast and a promising plot, and it may even rise to the level that it is so bad that it is a good movie just to watch for laughs.

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