Some people are afraid of ghosts or high cholesterol. Me, I need a diaper change whenever I’m in the water and
feel imagine something swimming past me. Boy, I hope the seats in that movie theater were stain free.
Nancy (Blake Lively) takes a break from med school to visit a secluded and breathtakingly beautiful beach she heard about from her mom. Her surfing adventure takes a drastic turn for the worst, however, when a great —more like gargantuan— white shark shows up and Nancy is left stranded on a rock smaller than my ambition. Only a mere 180 meters (200 yards) of shallow ocean lies between her and dry, safe land.
The premise is exactly as simple as it sounds and the movie knows it and runs with it. There are some meager attempts to build some kind of emotional rapport towards the characters, but really it’s kind of hard to care. Only characters worth mentioning are Nancy and the shark. Oh, and Steven “the seagull” Seagall of course. That being said, for the first time since Spielberg’s Jaws, there is a shark movie that manages to keep its audience in a chokehold with timely suspense and claustrophobic action. The dreamy and idyllic background you get for free.
Talking about idyllic, yes, Blake Lively does look like the personification of every wet dream ever. But she does a pretty damn good job acting-wise too. Blake Lively, to me, has always been “that hot girl from Gossip girl”—yes I am that shallow— or “Ryan Reynold’s gorgeous wife”…until now. Now she’s “that hot girl from Gossip girl” and “Ryan Reynold’s gorgeous wife” and “that badass chick from “The Shallows”. More than eye candy, her performance had trauma, fear and willpower written all over it; kudos for that.
All this talk about Blake Lively and she’s not even the best looking one in this film. That title goes to our slightly overgrown and hungry shark. I’ve always been an advocate for practical effects, and the sheer amount of Play-Doh CGI that comes out every year doesn’t really do much to sway that opinion. This particular CG creature, however, looks terrifyingly real both in looks and movements. That is, right up until the end of the movie when the ‘Murica factor kicks in. And this obnoxiously American ending is also my biggest turnoff in this movie; well, that and the horrendous selection of electronic “surf music”.
The Shallows looks contemporary and fresh, breathing new life into the all but extinct shark thriller genre. It’s gorgeous to look at and will have you clenching more than your fists. Without taking itself too seriously, this is the perfect summer movie to keep you on the edge of your seat and out of the water.
The Shallows is the movie equivalent of a:
Pretty to look at, casual fun, proper entertainment. You’ll probably see it again at some point. You know…If you’re in the mood.
Suitable for: anyone who needs a holiday…or a Blake Lively
Not suitable for: anyone who still wants to swim in the future
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Blake Lively, Steven Seagall
Duration: 88 minutes