Serenity

This may be the most difficult movie review I’ve ever written, and it’s not me, Serenity, it’s YOU. Serenity is a movie that defies reviewing, because the only thing worth talking about is the thing I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t talk about.

It came and went in theatres without a blip, which is strange for a movie with two bankable Oscar winners. Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway play exes. Baker (McConaughey) lives on a remote island where he fishes for a tuna. Not tuna. A tuna. This tuna is his Moby Dick. He’s obsessed. He pays the bills by taking tourists out on fishing expeditions, though as his first mate Duke (Djimon Hounsou) is quick to remind him that actually he’s technically not paying his bills lately. Baker’s pursuit of Moby Tuna is pretty single-minded and increasingly urgent. The only other hobby he has is missing his son.

But then his ex wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) appears out of nowhere, and she has a MV5BNTNiYTJjZWItNjA1Ni00ODQ5LThhNjgtZDZiZGU2N2MxNDIxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc5OTMwOTQ@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_small favour to ask. She’s married to this Cuban mob boss (maybe. I didn’t catch this myself – Sean supplied this detail) who hits her. And Baker’s poor son witnesses this. So could Baker, please, pretty please, kill him? Just a small favour. For old time’s sake. All he’d really have to do is get him drunk and push him overboard. Let the sharks do the dirty work.

Do you think Baker says yes?

Just because a murder is easy doesn’t make it right. And just because someone is violent doesn’t give you a free pass for doing the same, and worse. Right? Or is it sort of justified? And does it surprise you that in fact, it doesn’t matter. Whether or not Baker kills Karen’s abusive husband (played by Jason Clarke, who always plays the terrible husband) doesn’t matter. There are bigger things at play here.

But I’m being a good girl so I won’t even hint at what it is. The movie hints enough for the both of us, and to be honest, the twist wasn’t exactly hairpin. For an observant sleuth such as myself, it was pretty near a straightaway. Which is why I haven’t rated this movie very highly. It sort of negates itself as a murder-thriller, but it fails to surprise at this second level as well. I think if they had tried to make the movie less commercially appealing, and not marketed it as a straight up thriller, it would have been more appealing. The premise is interesting. So this movie really represents a lost opportunity, and that’s something I will always mourn.

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10 thoughts on “Serenity

  1. Sean

    I was going to attempt to review this eventually but had no clue how to go about it. You did well!

    [Spoilers]

    Serenity reminded me of Dark City and the Truman Show at various times but did far less with the concept of reality than either. Then it turned into the Matrix but without any actual stakes, because unlike all three other movies, in Serenity there was no other world in which Baker can exist and thus no other reality for him to choose. All that was left at that point was to find out will he/won’t he kill the bad guy except that was meaningless once we learned the truth! So yeah, this is definitely one to mourn as a lost opportunity, due to poor execution and not much new to say.

    Which is really too bad because I thought for a few minutes the film bumped up against something interesting, maybe by accident, about choosing your own reality – but then nothing more was done with that.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Oh were you really? Because I was still waiting on your review of the dark knight trilogy. And your reaction to the star wars trailer., So yeah. I did not hold my breath.

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  2. mydangblog

    I saw it advertised and got all excited that it was the Firefly movie, and then I realized it wasn’t and was very disappointed. But it sounds like it might be worth watching anyway:-)

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