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A high-concept mystery with a twist, Serenity isn't what it appears to be at first -- unfortunately, it's also not anywhere near as clever or entertaining as it thinks.
The movie doesn't seem to be playing near you.
All Critics (171)
| Top Critics (36)
| Fresh (33)
| Rotten (138)
If you like seeing authentically unusual movies, then ignore the haters: In its fusion of disparate genres, its sentimentality, and its weirdness, Serenity is actually worth watching.
"Serenity" is, instead, full of ludicrous trivializations that bypass the story's troubling implications.
The movie becomes even more ridiculous after its big reveal, which is obvious from early on and suggested in the opening shot.
The film's maritime setting has a certain aptness because Serenity has all the hallmarks of a fish tale. Unfortunately, Knight lets this one get away.
At the critics' screening I attended, the audience was reduced to hysterics.
A production more apt to deliver frustration than gratification.
With all of this foolishness going on...Serenity is a real stinker. There are lines of dialogue here that beggar belief, they are so lame.
At one point the actors are really trying to give, and it was clear that the movie wasn't giving back.
When the twist was revealed I went, "Yeah, I know."
It's not quite "It was all a dream", but it's in the same league of shoddy narrative gimmicks.
The twist itself particularly original. The way it's used, though, is rather ingenious.
Let's just say there's a huge twist coming that dazzles for about a minute and then leaves you feeling distinctly cross.
Serenity (NO relation to the Firefly franchise, the ship, or the spin-off movie) is a hard thing to discuss or pin down without going into spoiler territory. Matthew McConaughey is the captain of a fishing boat named Serenity. He lives on a non-descript tropical island with a small, nosy community. Financially strained and subsidizing his meager income by prostituting himself to Diane Lane, his femme-fatale ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) shows up with $10 million dollars that she will give him if he pulls a hit on her new abusive husband. So yes, at first glance it looks like the âsweatyâ? noir-ish thriller/star vehicle that Matthew McConaughey, Diane Lane, and Ashley Judd used to headline back in the 90â(TM)s, two of which are present here.
But itâ(TM)s totally not. MASSIVE SPOILER AHEAD. Turns out that itâ(TM)s all a video game created and played by the protagonistâ(TM)s son, as a way to idolize his dead father (GASP!) and work out his own plan to murder his abusive step-father. Yep. Thisâ¦kind of sounds like The Book of Henry doesnâ(TM)t it? But as where that infamous disaster switched tones at will and still wanted to be a saccharine melodrama, Serenity manages a consistent dark and paranoid tone, despite its sci-fi twist. Itâ(TM)s far from perfect. Serenity is messy, absurd, but consistently interesting and well-acted. The âMcConaissanceâ? is pretty much over at this point, but Matthew McConaughey works this movie with the charm and raw gravitas that defines his more recent work. Hathaway has a nice showy turn as a woman with nothing to lose, Diane Lane is always a treasure, and Jeremy Strong leaves an icky impression as a creepy salesman, who pretty much knows heâ(TM)s an NPC and is trying his damnedest to hide his opinion on the matter. Serenity predictably bombed and has the reputation of a misfire, more written about than actually watched. But its oddball story, Hard-R subject matter, and the genre-changing twist may make it a cult classic in future years. Itâ(TM)s worth a look.
I always love when an original concept makes it to the big screen, but sadly, not every original idea will resonate with every viewer. In the case of Serenity, it seems as though many people have chosen to be detached from it in terms of relatability. I admire when filmmakers go out of their way to create a bizarre world that usually would not work, but goes for it anyways. Unfortunately, Serenity is one of the strangest films I have seen in quite some time and also one that I feel is quite terrible as a whole. Although there was an effort to impress here, it failed on many levels and here is why.
After a burnout fisherman is approached by his ex-wife, his new mission turns into whether or not he is okay with murdering her new husband, due to his violence toward her and their son. That premise alone works as a movie, but that is about as much as I can say without ruining where the film takes a turn. This is where I admire the filmmakers for trying, even though it did not work at all. The twist that this film delivers may work for a handful of people, but I fear that viewers will most likely laugh once the film reveals what it is truly about.
Matthew McConaughey is a fantastic actor and has truly proven his worth throughout the past decade or so. Nominated for numerous awards and appearing in Oscar-nominated films consistently, I always look forward to the next project he chooses to sink his teeth into. While I will not say his performance is fantastic here, he is definitely committed from start to finish. He carries this movie in a dramatic way, but his wacky character feels a little fake at times. He is quite over-the-top here and it almost stood out as a negative to me.
On top of this crazy performance, as I mentioned, the twist this film delivers is one of the best and worst twists I have witnessed in years. There is a sense of humour to it for the viewers, but the movie takes everything so seriously that it really collapsed as a whole. This film would have had a lot of potential if it winked at the audience, but it just asked you to buy into the entire premise as if it were real. This aspect of the film alone is what turned me off. I enjoyed watching this film in a weird way, but that does not mean I actually liked the film.
In the end, Serenity is a great film to watch if you are a film lover and have someone to watch the film with, while having a few drinks. There were times when I had to question how these filmmakers thought certain plot devices were going to work for the majority of moviegoers because it simply feels ridiculous when the true storyline kicks in. Serenity may end up being on my list of films to never watch from 2019, but it certainly is a memorable one, so take from that what you will.
Here is a nice little boat ride into the Twilight Zone, or at least it seems that that was the original intent. A strong cast does its best to deliver the promise of the narrative, but ultimately is let down by an script that could've used a bit longer in the oven. Mark this down as a fair attempt, and mull over what greatness only just eluded capture.
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