Serenity

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Serenity

Runtime 105 minutes R

What is this, anyway? Noir? Thriller? Fantasy? Actually, it’s a bit of all three. Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) is the skipper of a small fishing boat on a picturesque island. He has an Ahab-like fixation on a big fish that he wants to catch. He’s got a girlfriend, Constance (Diane Lane), the purpose of whose existence is fuzzy, to say the least.

He’s got an ex-wife, Karen Zariakas (Anne Hathaway), who is married to brutal rich entrepreneur, Frank Zariakas (Jason Clarke), who apparently beats Karen often. Karen wants Baker to take Frank fishing and kill him. Baker is ambivalent until he learns that Frank is abusing Baker’s son, whom we see in flashovers always working on a computer.

This is an odd movie with twists and a

surprising ending…

This is an odd movie with twists and a surprising ending that you can see coming if you pay attention.

Baker has a first mate on his ship, Duke (Djimon Hounsou), who is calm and is apparently there to talk some sense into Baker who is angry most of the time.

Also appearing occasionally is a travelling salesman, Reid Miller (Jeremy Strong), who is as inscrutable as they come, not making much sense until what might really be going on becomes more and more understandable.

The ambience is outstanding and the tension builds as the mystery slowly grows much larger. Although the name of the island is Plymouth, it’s not clear exactly where it is, but it is clearly tropical. In fact it was filmed on the island of Mauritius, which is in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa. Wherever it is, if they have 50-year-old women like Diane Lane, I want to go there.

The acting is very good. I’ve never been a fan of Hathaway’s but this is one of the few performances that I’ve seen that I could say was pretty good. The cinematography is good and the story is good enough to hold your interest up until the end. It’s the kind of movie that you come out of saying, “What was that all about?”

Tony Medley is an MPAA-accredited film critic. See more reviews at TonyMedley.com.

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