Serenity is a very difficult film to discuss.
The thriller contains a gamechanging twist (no spoilers) that’s unlike anything you’ve probably seen in a while. In fact, your enjoyment of the film largely depends on what you think about this shocking bombshell. I personally found it very intriguing, and this made the whole film a very engaging experience.
In short, Serenity is the story of a fisherman who is approached by his ex-wife to kill her abusive husband. All kinds of ethical dilemmas arise and Matthew McConaughey is just outstanding throughout. His special brand of charisma elevates the entire film and makes the journey worthwhile. On the other end is Anne Hathaway who I’m still torn about. While she’s an effective femme fatale, part of me feels like she’s a bit miscast in the role. Her chemistry with McConaughey isn’t the most electric, and that somewhat robs the film of its impact. The exceptional Diane Lane is also wasted in a supporting role that doesn’t really amount to much. Why hire this brilliant (and still stunning actress) if you’re not going to give her much to do? The same applies to Djimon Hounsou whom we all know is capable of terrific work but is unfortunately sidelined and definitely not utilized to his full potential.
The film is also just beautiful to look at. The cinematography by Jess Hall is incredible with gorgeous shots of Mauritius at every turn. There’s barely any green-screen here and that authenticity injects the film with cozy island vibes and jawdropping scenery.
Note: If you haven’t watched the film, skip to the conclusion below because I will spoil the big twist in the following paragraph:
Towards the end of the film, Serenity‘s narrative takes a huge shift when it’s revealed that the story’s world is basically a videogame creation by Baker’s son Patrick. The young boy has brought this world to life because he’s trying to process the abuse that his mother routinely endures, and has brought his deceased dad back to life to save his mother. It’s a powerful notion, but it’s undoubtedly strange to see the film adopt such a Westworld vibe. Nevertheless, I loved the twist, and found the ending with the young boy reuniting with his dead father (after creating a new world) to be a real tearjerker. The film is basically about processing grief and trauma, and these are timeless themes that will always strike right through my heart.
Love it or hate it, you can’t deny how ambitious Serenity is. I was certainly impressed and I still can’t get the film out of my mind.