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Serenity review - Matthew McConaughey has sex appeal but not much else

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Matthew McConaughey stars in a sexy noir thriller Serenity as Baker Dill, a frustrated fishing captain in search of a mysterious catch, who is approached by his ex-wife about murdering her abusive new husband.

 

Image Credit: Courtesy of Sky

Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, an intense mystery and a beautiful tropical island. It sounds like a match made in movie heaven... and the film partly delivers. Matthew McConaughey's fishing captain lives on a tiny island, and seems to enjoy his life despite his fruitless quests for a mysterious deep-water tuna. However, things begin to unravel as Dill begins to have visions of his young son, which he can’t seem to find a reasonable explanation for.

 

Things get stranger as Dill’s estranged ex-wife Karen (played by Anne Hathaway, whose southern accent slips in and out throughout the film) suddenly shows up. Karen has a proposition for him, offering the thousands of dollars that he desperately needs to keep his boat if he will kill her rich, controlling and abusive husband Frank (played by Jason Clarke, who seems to have a knack for these types of roles.) At first Dill flat out refuses to help her, seeming to have no compassion for Karen’s struggle - a role I found to be very out of character for MccConaughy, as he usually plays the hero type - until she mentions that her husband is abusing their son too.

 

Image Credit: Courtesy of Sky

At the mention of their son, Dill’s strange visions only increase until he eventually agrees to help his ex-wife, putting aside his seemingly life-long quest to catch this mysterious tuna that has been evading him until his son is safe from the terrible man that has been hurting him and his mother. This does not go quite as planned, and there is an insane and unexpected twist that throws the entire course of the movie for a loop. While very unexpected, it is perhaps masterfully handled and McConaghy does his best with a sometimes vague plot.

Visually and cinematically, the film is absolutely stunning, filled with gorgeous visuals and a setting that makes you want to run away to the Caribbean. There are some uncomfortable, violent scenes, a few of which could have been toned down whilst still getting the point across.

While the plot can become confusing at times, MacConaghy and Hathaway really shine as two broken lovers, and their natural chemistry is one of the strongest parts of the film. They put the “sexy” into the sexy noir title. Credit should also be given to Jason Clarke for his portrayal of Frank, the abusive ex who takes pleasure in inflicting pain in others. He is perhaps a cartoon-esque villain and underdeveloped as a character, but he is a well-used device, giving all the characters on screen and the audience watching somebody to hate.

Whilst perhaps the story itself is unbelievable and at times takes itself much too seriously, it is a guilty pleasure trhat utilises Matthew McConaughey's body more than his acting ability. For people who are fans of shirtless Matthew McConaughey scenes, this film is a must watch. In all other cases... wait for the Netflix release.

Serenity is out on Sky Cinema now.




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