The film so swept under the rug you probably haven’t even heard of it, Serenity works on no level and yet comes out on top an entertaining film.
Baker Dill, a tuna fisherman, just can’t seem to catch the one fish always eluding him, and that fish’s name? Justice. When his ex-wife, Karen, steps into the picture, Dill is offered a lot of money to take her excessively abusive husband out to sea where he will be fed to the sharks. Don’t mind the skinny guy with glasses who chases Dill around with a briefcase unexplained throughout the first half of the film.
I remember being excited for Serenity back in October, when it was initially being promoted. Then it went off the radar, never to be seen, and I moved on. January comes rolling around and surprise, it’s finally being released. After having watched the film, I can see why Aviron Pictures did what they did: Serenity isn’t very good, and the reviews show it. I never believed the film would be a box-office hit, and the move to release it in January was simply damage control. Nonetheless, my interest was unwavering, and I made my way to the cinema. Matthew McConaughey is full-blown McConaughey in this film, contemplating his existence in the fields, yelling at the sky, casually being the coolest guy in the room, jumping off a cliff naked…wait a second, jumping off a cliff naked!? Yes, he does that. If you’re like me and the only reason you want to see Serenity is because of McConaughey, then go ahead and see it because he delivers. His performance in the film is far from being a Mud or Dallas Buyer’s Club, but it’s still everything we love about him. Let’s just say the rest of the cast, talents such as Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Diane Lane, and Djimon Hounsou, go underused and leave it at that.
If you have heard anything about this film, then you might’ve heard about its absurdity. It’s a fair claim to make, primarily because of the film’s twist. A spoiler-free way of describing it: imagine Truman Show clogged with noir elements. Right from the film’s opening scene it’s silly and overdramatic and I love it. From the grandiose of the score to McConaughey flashing his muscles as he tries to reel in the big tuna, the sequence sets you up for quite the ride you’ll be taking. The dialogue is poor, names of people we have no clue about are thrown around and almost nothing said sounds realistic (however, in understanding the twist, this may be the point). Characters, outside of Baker Dill, feel two dimensional and aren’t compelling (ditto). Serenity tries for something out of left corner, but it just doesn’t work. If the film skipped the twist and spent more time developing the tension between McConaughey, Hathaway, and Clarke’s characters, then it might’ve had a chance. However, I do want to add, Serenity is far from boring; I still walked away entertained. I can definitely see it falling under the category of films so bad they are good. But in terms of quality, Serenity is an over-the-top adult drama that is more chaos than what its title prescribes it. My brain says 4.5/10 but my heart says 7.5.