With Suicide Squad currently disappointing audiences worldwide, there is an unspoken desperation for something invigorating that will shake us from this summer’s ho-hum selection. A film that earns our money, as opposed to one that simply waits at the door with its hand held out. Who would have thought that Blake Lively fighting a shark, in a film shot like an advert for Playboy, would provide us with said entertainment?
There is a genuine shock to be had in the quality of The Shallows. Its devotion to simplicity is the spark to its success; the plot involves a shark versus a woman. There is no filler, no side characters and no romantic sideplot. For once, we are presented with a gimmick-free flick. And it feels so good. This audacity has created a refreshing and streamlined film that will divide its audience. For some, The Shallows will echo its name with deafening accuracy.
Yet this is a composed, taut and electrifying thriller worth anyone’s time. Lively may have been hired for her star appeal but she more than holds her own. Rising above the rather too intimate coverage of her wetsuit-clad physique, Lively holds the film together with an empowering and intelligent performance.
Putting the protagonist and imposing shark aside, it is the director, Collet-Serra, who is the true star. His confident and self-aware vision directs The Shallows (far) away from high art to a different, visceral and exciting plane.
Frankly, this is the best shark movie since Jaws.
You’ve got to give kudos to Lively and director Collet-Serra for pulling this off. Shallow by name and by nature, this is a B-movie through and through. Yet in a summer full of average flicks, it’s a pleasure to have a short, sharp, and wholly unexpected thriller presented to us.
CAST: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Angelo Jose, Lozano Corzo
DIRECTOR: Jaume Collet-Serra
WRITER: Anthony Jaswinski
SYNOPSIS: When Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing on a secluded beach, she finds herself on the feeding ground of a great white shark. Though she is stranded only 200 yards from shore, survival proves to be the ultimate test of wills, requiring all of Nancy’s ingenuity, resourcefulness, and fortitude.