Movie ReviewsSerenity – An Overly Melodramatic Mess (Early Review)

Keith NoakesJanuary 24, 2019

Not to be confused with the 2005 film with the same name.

Synopsis: Baker Dill is a fishing boat captain leading tours off a tranquil, tropical enclave called Plymouth Island. His quiet life is shattered, however, when his ex-wife Karen tracks him down with a desperate plea for help. She begs Dill to save her – and their young son – from her new, violent husband by taking him out to sea on a fishing excursion, only to throw him to the sharks and leave him for dead. Karen’s appearance thrusts Dill back into a life he’d tried to forget, and as he struggles between right and wrong, his world is plunged into a new reality that may not be all that it seems. (Rovi)

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jason Clarke

Writer: Steven Knight

Director: Steven Knight

Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)

Running Time: 106mins


With the likes of Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway involved, Serenity is definitely not lacking in star power and they will surely be a big draw. The trailers don’t give much away while frankly being all over the place. Suffice it to say that the actual film was the same. The story was about a fishing boat captain named Baker Dill (McConaughey). Dill’s quiet and peaceful life would soon be interrupted once his ex-wife Karen (Hathaway) found his way back into his life to plead for his help. Karen wanted Dill to save her and their son Patrick (Rafael Sayegh) from her new, violent husband Frank (Clarke).

Karen’s arrival would thrust Dill back into the life he thought he left behind, testing his resolve and morality. Meanwhile, Dill also had a life which involved trying to catch a tuna that was alluding him. He may have been down on his luck as a fisherman but he had to try to get over the temptation of his past and do what was best for his ex-wife and son for whom he shared an unusual relationship. Over the course of the story, we would see that Frank was not a good person though probably not for the reason one may think seeing that he was simply insufferable to watch, being nothing more than a caricature.

For the most part, the story tried to be many things without ever being successful at any of them, never finding the right balance. Both the characters and the subplots would be full of holes while the film seemed to not be interested in ever filling them. The film arguably tries to justify this by introducing a twist that was both stupid and absolutely made no sense whatsoever or even fit with the rest of the story. What made it even worse was that this twist would ultimately change the entire landscape of the film as it would become a completely different film from where it started which was also bad all the way to the end.

Despite the dull characters and the overly melodramatic story, the acting was okay but it couldn’t quite overcome the mediocre material. McConaughey was okay as Dill, more or less playing the same type of characters he’s played countless times before. While that could be a negative for certain actors, he still does it well and was still somewhat compelling to watch. Hathaway was also okay as Karen, however, she didn’t get the chance to do all that much here while lacking chemistry with McConaughey. Though Frank was supposed to be an unlikable character, Clarke’s performance was cringe-worthy at best. Diane Lane and Djimon Hounsou would also make appearances and were just sad to watch.

Overall, Serenity was a mediocre, overly melodramatic mess with an unnecessary twist that only makes a bad film worse. The film would have been much better served with a more straightforward story. It still wouldn’t be that great but it’d be better than this. The star power from McConaughey and Hathaway will definitely help, however, they simply could not overcome the mediocre material. At the end of the day, the trailers were already full of enough red flags. If you’re not a fan of either star, it would be best to avoid this one.

Score: 3.5/10

*Serenity opens in theatres on January 25th*

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  • Film4Fan

    January 24, 2019 at 9:30 AM

    Too bad, was really hoping it would be good. The previous film he directed (Locke) was absolutely fantastic, so I was hoping this one would be as well. His latest film screenplays haven’t been that great, though.

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