Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong
Why do bad films happen to good people? Steven Knight wrote and created Peaky Blinders, a marvel of modern television. But Serenity, Knight’s second feature film, should be marvelled at for opposite reasons – proving to be an achingly confusing, intellectually defunct, and poorly acted piece of genre-clanking trash.
The film starts like a badly traced copy of a Hemingway novel. Matthew McConaughey, playing ripped fisherman Baker Dill, tries to catch a big fish named ‘Justice’ on the shores of a Caribbean island. OK, so it’s a kind of man vs nature exploration, right?
Well, no. Anne Hathaway turns up out of the blue, appearing like a caricature of a ‘40s femme fatale, and compels Dill, her ex-husband, to take her current husband out to sea and throw him to the sharks. OK, so it’s a revenge thriller noir set on a boat?
Jason Clarke plays Karen's current husband
Nope, wrong again. With the introduction of a weak man in a suit, played with some effort by Jeremy Strong (Succession, The Big Short), the story enters a whole different realm: science-fiction with little scope and no thought. When he and Dill meet, there’s a twist – a big, stupid, excruciating twist – that makes the rest of the film struggle and sink and drown in its own skunky water.
There's no chemistry between McConaughey and Hathaway, their intimate scenes being especially embarrassing. Knight's flaccid writing makes it even worse, with dialogue pounded with clichés that would feel awkward in a first draft never mind a supposedly completed film (‘I need you to deliver me from temptation!’).
Knight's fallen hard, and we can only hope that the next season of Peaky Blinders will pick him up again. Serenity is a sci-fi stinker by the seaside, a smell that will never go away.
01 Mar 19 – 01 Mar 20, 12:00 AM
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