Rarely pleasing, often irritating, Serenity is not the picture it led everyone, including itself, to believe it was
Matthew McConaughey has finally gone full circle. From the depths of Fool’s Gold, to the absolute pinnacle with Dallas Buyer’s Club, McConaughey has plummeted back to Earth, showing just how wildly off pace he can be when the direction is simply not powerful enough. Serenity’s failure as a film cannot be pinned solely on his shoulders, but as the leading man, featuring in almost every scene, he is accountable for at least a major percentage.
Directed by long time screenwriter Steven Knight, Serenity tracks the life of Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey), a fisherman overwrought by his attempts to catch the largest tuna in the ocean. Alienating all of those around him, Dill is out of luck and out of money, until his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) arrives unexpectedly, asking him to commit a terrible crime for a large sum of money.
Serenity absolutely hinges on its painfully obvious twist. Clunking about with poor dialogue and a strange sense of self-righteousness, the narrative never manages to hide its greater plan, but suggesting consistently that it does not matter. It absolutely does, and that leaves Serenity in a hole it cannot get out of.
Almost all modern films with a moderate budget look as stunning as Serenity does, and this seems to leave many modern features scrambling to find worth in its other key departments. Knight and cinematographer Jess Hall deserve praise for the piece they have constructed visually, but that shouldn’t distract from the fact that the film fails to truly embrace all elements of cinema; instead, doubling down on its own need for a twist, rather like McCounaghey’s fisherman desperate to catch his tuna.
Rarely pleasing, often irritating, Serenity is not the picture it led everyone, including itself, to believe it was. Too much focus is set aside for it’s ultimate goal, rather than looking at the journey to get there. Potentially 2019’s most painful watch, Serenity will forever be summed up by McConaughey’s bizarre cackle about half an hour from the credits on the endless beach of Plymouth Island.