Serenity review – Mr T’s take

Is Serenity a pretentious flick with a bad script or simply a result of lazy film-making? Serenity review, brought to you by AboutFlick’s Mr T.

Director: Steven Knight

Review: Any movie with Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey in it immediately has my attention. And I was excited by the trailer. I really was. Which is why it’s painful for me to say this. Serenity is not a good movie. No matter how you look at it. In fact, it’s the very definition of awful and lazy filmmaking.

The entire first half is a ruse which would have been fine if it were well-scripted and built up to something. Instead, what we get are ham-handed plot devices taken straight out of B-grade movies, and the innumerable ‘twists’ found would put something as stupid as Wild Things to shame. There is also an attempt to clue the audience in on the con with the juxtaposition of certain scenes, except the hints aren’t exactly subtle and everyone can see them coming from a mile away.

Serenity review 1
Anne Hathaway is made into a cardboard character in desperate need of rescuing

Matthew McConaughey plays kind of the same character as he did in Mud (2012), except in this case, it doesn’t make any sense. Don’t get me wrong. He tries desperately, but even his charm and skill cannot salvage this train-wreck of a movie. After last year’s White Boy Rick (2018), I was expecting something even better from him. I guess I’ll have to wait. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say Anne Hathaway is one of the greatest actresses of this era, and somehow the director manages to make even her into a cardboard character in desperate need of rescuing. I regard Diane Lane as an intellectually engaging actress, but this is one of her worst roles in years. Why actors of such calibre chose to be a part of this film left me ‘Dazed and Confused’. And not in a good way.

Serenity review 2
Even Matthew McConaughey’s charm cannot save this train-wreck of a movie

The cinematography is nothing to write home about. We get to see boats and the toned physique of Matthew McConaughey again and again. If this were a commercial on boats of protein supplements, it probably would’ve worked.

What’s disappointing is that Serenity could have been so much more. Steven Knight could’ve taken a cue from Black Mirror and made an appealing science fiction thriller. Maybe he could have borrowed from an experimental film like The Tree Of Life (2011) and made something on subjects coming face to face with their maker. In its place, we get a ‘so bad it’s good’ movie that’s barely watchable. As a filmmaker, when you have such accomplished actors and yet somehow manage to deliver a catastrophe, I think it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Rating: My rating for is 1/5 and I’m being generous, only because I like the Truman Show-esque premise.

Who should watch this: Fans of Ed Wood and Ram Gopal Varma’s work will enjoy Serenity. Others should check out Black Mirror (2011), Westworld (2016), The Tree Of Life (2011) and The Truman Show (1998).

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