Temptation, Murder, Abuse, and Reality-all part of a terrible fantasy
The only thing that makes “Serenity” worth watching is its location. It was filmed on the Mauritius island nation in the Indian Ocean, and looking at the shacks, stores, docks, and oceans makes me feel so relaxed. And the scope of these features are as bright and calm as they should feel.
That’s just one thing, because “Serenity” is utter garbage-the kind of movie that tricks you into thinking it’s a provocative thriller, and turns out to be some kind of Sci-Fi fantasy. Not alien fantasy, but reality fantasy. It’s just plain weird and confusing.
The following takes place on a “fantasy island” (I just had to make the pun) called “Plymouth Island,” where no one knows how and why they got there. Not even the following main character.
Matthew McConaughey stars as Baker Dill, a struggling fishing captain, who touring business has been so tough, he sleeps in a intermodal container and takes showers by jumping nude in the ocean. There is a specific fish he’s willing to catch, but he can never get a break, and he blames the bad luck on his religious partner Duke (Djimon Hounsou).
Then out of the blue, his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) comes crawling back to him, offers to pay big money for him to murder her abusive husband Frank (Jason Clarke). She and their (Baker’s) son Patrick (Rafael Sayegh) have been victims long enough.
And what’s more strange is a man with a suit, glasses, and a briefcase named Reid Miller (Jeremy Strong) constantly struggles to find Baker to offer him a fish tracker, and to warn him not to go through with Frank’s murder, being that it’s against the rules. “The rules of what?” he asks. The rules of the fantasy world they’re apparently in.
“Serenity, written and directed by Steven Knight (“Locke”), is a fable so bizarre and so abusive, I can’t imagine any movie-goer being entertained by it. McConaughey uses a razor-sharp accent in his character, and it makes him sound cool and emotional. But he’s been fine in much better movies. He’s more of a pawn than an actor here. And let’s not forget how wasted Hathaway, Hounsou, and Clarke are. And is the Reid Miller side inspired by “The Adjustment Bureau?” I don’t know.
Again, the locations are fabulous and beautifully photographed. That’s pretty much the only reason why I would even look at this depressing picture.