Serenity (2019)


A fishing boat captain juggles facing his mysterious past and finding himself ensnared in a reality where nothing is what it seems.

Wow. We have an early contender for worst film of the year, and it’s going to take something special to beat it. ‘Serenity’ (nothing to do with the ‘Firefly’ spinoff movie thankfully!) is a film that absolutely has to be seen to be believed. A film so spectacularly misjudged that it makes you wonder if the intent all along was to lure the audience in and aim to shock them with one of the most astoundingly bad plot twists in cinematic history. As a rule of thumb, I don’t like talking about twists in films as even mentioning a twist is a spoiler of sorts, but it’s impossible not to with ‘Serenity’ given its ludicrous storyline hinges on an absolute humdinger of a twist. M. Night Shyamalan has nothing on the one Steven Knight employs here!

Let’s start with the premise. Baker Dill (yes that is the name chosen for the main character), played by Matthew McConaughey, is a local fisherman constantly on the hunt for a big catch, when he is approached by his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) with a proposition to kill her current husband, the abusive Frank (Jason Clarke). This seems to conflict with Baker’s goal to track down a large tuna for some reason, and at the same time he is experiencing strange visions, often involving his son Patrick from his marriage to Karen. Before we even get to the twist, the film is peppered with bad dialogue, fishing related puns and weirdness, which I guess could be defended as intentional to set an off kilter feel to prepare the viewer for the direction the story was going in, but it was funny more than compelling. And then we get to the twist. I won’t spoil the specific details as you may want to see this for yourself (it does have a certain so bad it’s good quality at times), but it feels utterly out of leftfield and is as big a ‘WTF’ moment as anything I’ve seen in a film for some time! Perhaps this development was designed to deliver pathos for our main characters, but for me, it generated laughter, and I watched the film from this point onwards stunned that the filmmakers actually thought this was a good direction to take this film in. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t entertained and the deranged plotting ensures ‘Serenity‘ is never boring, but well, it certainly isn’t good!

You do have to wonder with a film like this if the filmmakers and actors thought they were making something good all the way through, or if at some point they stopped and realised the hot mess they were involved and just continued to cash the pay check. ‘Serenity’ has some quality acting talent in front of the camera, and Steven Knight has proven he’s no hack either as a writer (‘Dirty, Pretty Things’) or a director (‘Locke’) but this is all over the place and well, I’m not quite sure what else to say about it!

Rating: 1/5

Directed By: Steven Knight

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong, Diane Lane and Rafael Sayegh

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