Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Shallows [2016]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  ChicagoTribune (2 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (K. Jensen) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (M. Zoller-Seitz) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review  

The Shallows [2016] (directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, screenplay by Anthony Jaswinski) is ... an EVER ENTERTAINING but ALSO   SURPRISINGLY INTELLIGENT -- "SUMMER SHARK" MOVIE ;-).  

I say EVER ENTERTAINING because I _jumped_ "early and often" during the course of the film that was often spectacularly shot in the "small indie" / "surfing documentary" idiom (honestly, the cinematography alone is worth going to see the film).

And I call this film _surprisingly intelligent_ because though made in said "small indie" rather than "Blockbuster" fashion, (hence for a fraction of the cost of Jaws [1975], the film that one would have thought was "the shark movie to end all shark movies," THE "shark movie" that arguably "jumped its own shark" ;-) ... the current film is arguably MORE INTELLIGENT than Jaws [1975].

Honestly, the current film could be thought of as Steven Spielberg's name-making blockbuster Jaws [1975] meeting a surprising / updated retelling of Ernest Hemingway's classic Old Man and the Sea [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb], featuring instead of "an old bearded man in a boat trying to reel-in a fish," a bikini clad medical student named Nancy (played honestly magnificently by Blake Lively) trying to take down a shark. 

Indeed the film could be thought of  as "the revenge of the stupid / arguably 'immoral' utterly anonymous woman who gets "munched" in the opening sequence of Jaws (while carelessly going 'skinny dipping', alone, in the sea at the end of some random beach-side party).  In contrast, Blake Lively's late-20 something surfing medical student Nancy is _anything_ but stupid / careless or immoral (indeed, let's just being by saying that SHE'S GIVEN A NAME...)  Yes, she finds herself alone 200 yards out from a secluded ("secret") beach somewhere in Mexico.  However, that's because she wants to take-in "one last wave" before calling it a day.  And she's at the beach to begin with, in good part, to grieve for her mother who had died recently of cancer. 

Blake Lively's Nancy is thus quite similar to Reese Witherspoon's character in Wild [2014] ... trying to "do what she loves" (in this case surf) to get herself out of her grief.  And that she would have gravitated toward a more secluded ("secret") beach to do this, given her circumstances would even make sense ... people generally don't like to grieve "in public" ...

Anyway, while she tries to take-in that "one last wave" on that fateful late afternoon ... she gets "knocked off her surf board" (and even bitten) ... by a (it turns out, one rather "driven" / "single minded") shark ... some 200 yards from shore, and much then ensues over the subsequent several days ...

Honestly, a quite excellent film and on several levels ;-)

Good / great job! ;-)

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