AVIRON PICTURES (2019)
Director: Steven Knight
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Diane Lane, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong
Hathaway. McConaughey. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Serenity made my list of intriguing movies coming in 2019. A neo-noir thriller starring two beautiful people sounds right up my alley. Best known, perhaps, for his screenwriting abilities, Steven Knight directed the Hitchcock-esque sounding thriller about a fishing boat captain who is tasked by his ex-wife to kill her abusive husband. The intrigue, the twists, the drama! Set on the lovely island of Mauritius, could Knight and co. deliver a contemporary classic…? No. No. No.
For Hitchcock-esque, also see: Wilder-like. The plot and premise are familiar but still exciting enough to get the blood pumping. It all depends on whether the execution is competent and, also, confident. Sadly, Serenity is lacking in both aspects. McConaughey’s character, Baker Dill, is a man racked with guilt, doubt and alcoholism which, in the context of the movie, provided a solid foundation to build upon. Hathaway’s Karen is a desperate woman masquerading behind a submissive, sultry exterior – your perfect femme fatale, it would seem. However, Knight decides to muddy the waters fatally with poor dialogue, stifled lead actors, strange twists, useless side characters, a big fish metaphor, and a ridiculous overall revelation behind the entire mystery that literally makes no sense. McConaughey and Hathaway’s handcuffed performances offer little joy throughout, with only moments of real quality shining through. It’s a real shame as it’s clear the potential was there to create something very decent.
Whilst Serenity remained a dive into the psyche of a damaged man and mysterious woman, it was just fine. Hell, a whole movie devoted to that would have been great – with two unshackled performers free to show off their considerable talents. The strangled attempts at adding layers and depth totally derail the narrative entirely and the lack of tension is palpable. By the time Jason Clarke’s abusive Frank turns up and flexes his abusive muscles, nothing really mattered as the seeds of the revelation had been sewn and were disappointing then, let alone by the finale. But hey, Mauritius looked awesome!
Side note: Matthew McConaughey is afforded an emotional wail akin to Darth Vader’s infamous “Noooo!” from Revenge of the Sith.
With the cast attached to this flick, it seemed easier to make a competent movie at best, however, Serenity somehow stumbles at the majority of its turns. Not quite the neo-noir thriller I was expecting, Serenity is a convoluted, confused and silly mess.
January 29th 2019