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“Serenity” Mystery and Uncertanty




Review by John Delia

It’s beautifully filmed, courageously acted, complicated, and twisted , so keep focused for the payoff as it’s a zinger. The movie Serenity opens this weekend with an interesting twist and some amazing scenery. While the cast makes their characters interesting and compelling, I found a couple of characters out of sync in their performances. That said, the film is worth the watch for those who like a story that involves mystery and uncertainty.

Sport fishing boat owner Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) has been eking out a living taking tourists out to fish plentiful waters surrounding Plymouth Island for several years now. His first mate Duke (Djimon Hounsou) has been there by his side and they both have dreams to fulfill. But, lately Baker has been obsessed with catching a “monster” tuna who has evaded him and caused the captain to lose business.

Baker (Matthew McConaughey), Duke (Djimon Hounsou,) and Frank (Jason Clarke) in Serenity from Aviron Pictures

Turning to booze and satisfying his need for sexual gratification, he goes to Constance (Diane Lane). She’s the island’s mistress who relishes in Baker’s need for comfort and gives him a self-satisfying “loan” now and then. But, things start to heat up when Baker’s former wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) shows up with a $10 million proposition involving murdering her abusive husband Frank (Jason Clarke). Steven Knight, director and writer of Serenity, sets up a story of deceit, greed and desire as Baker weighs in on whether he would be accepting an opportunity for wealth or committing a crime of passion.

Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) and Karen (Anne Hathaway) in Serenity from Aviron Pictures

I like the set-up that Knight gives us very much, but as the film goes on he takes liberties with his audience to trick them at every turn. Some work well, others open doors to predictability, something that can turn an astute audience against his convoluted mystery. His choice of actors, while perfect in the case of Baker (McConaughey) verses Frank (Clarke) is excellent and persuasive, but the character Karen (Hathaway) falls flat and very unlikable. Even though supposedly abused by Frank, Karen doesn’t seem the worse for wear. And she comes on to her ex-husband too easily and with an attitude bordering greed for Frank’s death rather than one seeking sympathy for her supposed plight.

Matthew McConaughey as Baker Dill in Serenity from Aviron Films

As stated the acting here, especially McConaughey, who not only gives a very good performance, but for the ladies a lot of eye candy. Bulking up for the role, his daily shower in the film is jumping stark naked into the clear blue waters of Plymouth Island for his shower. He’s also not shy to the camera following his carnal visit with Constance and a tryst with Karen. I like his role here, but not the flaws within the film as mentioned above.

Serenity has been rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, sexual content, and some bloody images. It also contains violence and a lot of bare butt scenes.

FINAL ANALYSIS: The film does entertain, but it gets confusing. Expect a lot of crosstalk by the audience. (2.5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Djimon Hounsou, Jason Clarke, Jeremy Strong, Garion Dowds, Raphael Sayegh, Kenneth Fok, Robert Hobbs, Edeen Bhugeloo
Directed and written by: Steven Knight
Genre: Drama, Thriller
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, sexual content, and some bloody images. It also contains violence and a lot of bare butt scenes
Running Time: 1 hr. 46 min.
Opening Date: January 25, 2019
Distributed by: Aviron Pictures
Released in: Standard

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