Friday, July 8, 2016
Nancy Adams is grieving for her mother who died after a long fight with cancer. She decides to go to the Mexican beach where her mother was at her happiest to surf and forget her troubles. They follow her anyway as her sister calls her wondering why she's basically run away and her father laments over her decision to drop out of med school. Nancy brushes them off, enjoying the sun and surfing the waves. The locals go home for the day, but she wants just one more wave. She stumbles upon a whale carcass and the shark that killed it. Trapped on a rock in the shallows of the sea, Nancy struggles to find the will to live and ways to outsmart this killer shark.
The Shallows has an interesting concept and a different visual style. The shark is a metaphor for Nancy's grief and likely depression. If she sits idle, she can't move forward in her life and lets the grief consume her. This film has more in common with movies like Gravity and The Babadook than Jaws. The idyllic setting contrasted well with the violence. Although a fairly minor point, I liked how the images on her phone screen and watch were displayed. It was clear and different than I've seen. The visual effects are pretty good. The shark in particular looked realistic and Nancy's physical deterioration and injuries were impressive. Unfortunately, this is about all the film has going for it.
The movie would have been better as a short. So much of the film is stagnant. The first bit of the film is filled with creepy, lingering shots of Blake Lively's body. The latter half of the film has her laying on a rock doing pretty nothing for way too long. The plot is very basic and is stretched thin to fill the length of a short feature length film. While the shark seems to be largely metaphorical, it would be nice if the shark attacks made sense. Nancy is pulled under by the shark, but only has a rather large gash on her leg to show for it. Others are bit in half by the massive shark's jaws, so her injury doesn't really make sense. The ending is overly saccharine and unsatisfying.
The Shallows could have been a fun thriller, but a lack of momentum, dull and static scenes, and unrealistic leaps in logic make it a fairly unenjoyable film. The theater experience was also awful as a bunch of bored eight year olds chatted loudly through the entire film. I was fooled by the hype and the generally positive reviews.
My rating: 2/5 fishmuffins