By RANDAL C. HILL
After saving the human race together in 2014’s Interstellar, Academy Award winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway join forces again to star in Serenity, an adrenaline-fueled, original (and quite sexy) “neo-noir” offering from British-born creator Steven Knight.
For the uninitiated, neo-noir films retain characteristics of those black and white movies of the past in which cynical, morally-ambiguous protagonists often struggle blindly through a world of shadowy darkness and danger. Neo-noir movies offer updated cinematic techniques, more convoluted plots, new levels of violence, and femme fatales who are more mysterious and more empowered than those in the past.
No one trusts anyone else in Serenity, and the gorgeous island setting (and title) of this dark thriller promises to be the perfect foil for secrets and conspiracies gone wrong.
The stoic Baker Dill (McConaughey) captains a fishing boat out of a peaceful Caribbean tropical enclave called Plymouth Island. His serene life shatters one day when ex-wife Karen (Hathaway) shows up unexpectedly, child in tow and with fear in her heart.
Karen has lured her super-creepy, abusive spouse (Jason Clarke) to Plymouth Island for a fishing expedition. Dill has never met or even seen the new guy, but Karen’s description of him has set off alarm bells in Dill’s mind. “You were right about him,” Karen says just before she lobs a bomb: “I want you to take him out on your boat,” she announces icily, “and drop him in the ocean for the sharks.”
Faced with this request, Dill must now make the decision of a lifetime.
To add to his dilemma, he also realizes something else that unnerves him: the other islanders seem to have a number of secrets—and some of them may be about him.
The thrum of undefined danger grows louder as the
day of the fishing expedition rushes upon him. And that’s
when all hell breaks loose.
Academy Award nominee Diane Lane plays Dill’s
love interest, and Djimon Hounson—another Academy Award nominee—serves as the voice of Dill’s conscience.
Serenity might be the breakthrough mainstream hit that Knight has been looking for. It is at least a worthy addition to his growing oeuvre; whose past works include Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises. Knight not only wrote and directed Serenity but, with able assistance from Guy Heeley and Greg Shapiro, also handled production tasks along the way.