Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
My AV System
- Preamp, Processor or Receiver
- Yamaha TRS-7850 Atmos Receiver
- Other Amp
- Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
- Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
- Front Speakers
- Cheap Thrills Mains
- Center Channel Speaker
- Cheap Thrills Center
- Surround Speakers
- Volt 10 Surrounds
- Surround Back Speakers
- Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
- Rear Height Speakers
- Volt 6 Overheads
- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
- Video Display Device
- JVC RS-46 Projector
- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
I really have to hand it to director/writer Steven Knight. I actually stood up and applauded at the end of Serenity, but not for the reason you’re thinking. I actually stood up and applauded because I have never had a film make me laugh this hard, look at the screen and mouth “what in bloody blue blazes?” and feel like I was in the middle of a drug induced stupor at the same time. Serenity initially got me hooked from the trailers a few months back, and I was fully on board considering that Matthew McConaughey has been on a kick the last decade for making incredibly interesting character dramas, and I love Jason Clarke (even though him as John Conner is something I really want to forget). However, I was truly not expecting this convoluted, artistic, sci-fi laden mess of a film when I went in. I had to actually sit and mull on what I just witnessed and watch it again to see if I had missed something, or whether the film was truly this bungled.
It’s almost impossible to go into the review with much depth without telling some rather huge spoilers, but I’m going to dance around the big ones and do my best to no spoil said surprises as much as humanely possible. Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) starts out the film as a modern day Ahab. He’s got his white wale in the form of a giant tuna fish that he’s nicknamed Justice. Living alone on Plymouth island, he forages for his giant obsession by day, and barely makes a living moonlighting as a tourist boat. Baker is on the rocks when he is suddenly approached by his ex wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) and offered a rather enticing proposition. It seems that Karen has remarried, and her new husband Frank (Jason Clarke) is an abusive scumbag. Beating her and mentally abusing Karen and Baker’s son Patrick (Rafael Sayegh), he has driven the woman to the end of her rope and she is willing to offer Baker $10 million to take Frank out to the ocean and feed him to the fishies.
But with the inclusion of Karen comes a burgeoning realization that not everything is as it seems. A mysterious fish and bait salesmen named Reid Miller (Jeremy Strong) soon delivers the crushing blow that this world, this island, this obsession with catching the tuna is all part of an elaborate ruse that delves heavily into science fiction and starts the actual unraveling of the film itself.
The frustration from the cast is palpable, with McConaughey, Hathaway and Clarke all turning in admirable performances, but their efforts completely hampered with the ADHD direction form Steven Knight. I almost feel bad for all involved as the film’s script had promise, and teased us with something more mysterious, more emotionally resonant and more impactful than what we were given. As I said earlier, the film thrives in the first 30 minutes of runtime, but once Karen comes to Plymouth the movie just devolves into a series of frogger like jumps that flit the plot all over the place. The one good thing that I can think of is that Serenity honestly has you wondering how the film is going to turn out, and you’re glued to the screen trying to see what that end game really is going to be (although the actual ending is just about laughable as the script and had me giggling hysterically as the credits rolled).
Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, and some bloody images
Serenity is a truly bizarre film that was COMPLETELY misrepresented from the trailer. Instead of a mysterious Neo-noir thriller, we get a near sci-fi level arthouse drama that just falls apart under the weight of its own ambition. Performances are solid, but that can’t make up for the bungled script and mediocre direction. For those of you who wish to view said debacle, at least the technical aspects of the Blu-ray are very appealing. The audio and video are pretty much demo worthy, but there are ZERO special features to be found on the disc. Something that makes me really sad as this would have been the perfect film for a commentary track, so that we could get into the mind of Steven Knight and figure out what he was thinking when he attempted the film. Skip It.
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong, Charlotte Butler, David Butler
Directed by: Steven Knight
Written by: Steven Knight
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DVS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Runtime: 107 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 30th, 2019
Recommendation: Hilariously Bad