Quick Hit: Predictable, but maintains a steady level of suspense anyways through Lively’s performance.
Blake Lively hasn’t seemed to be in that many things lately. I pulled up her IMDB just to check, and indeed, I was correct. After Gossip Girl ended, she took a bit of a hiatus until 2015’s Age of Adaline. Turns out, she had a kid with Ryan Reynolds. I found this out from my wife – otherwise I would have had no idea as to her whereabouts.
Speaking of Reynolds, before I begin my full review about The Shallows, I just wanted to say that this movie has something in common with one of Reynolds’ movies. You may remember the campaign for it – it was essentially just a clip from the film. It was the one where he was buried in the coffin for the running time of the movie (and surprise, the movie was called Buried). The similarities are pretty obvious, as both Reynolds and Lively spend their movies pretty much alone. The camera is allowed to focus on them, and both movies sink and swim (haha, swimming pun) based on the performance of their actors.
So the Shallows came out in 2016. It’s not a great film by any means. It follows a pretty predictable path – girl runs away because sad things, girl tries to connect with someone dead, girl almost gets eaten by a shark… ya know. The usual. I’ve given most of the plot away in that sentence, but that’s ok, because the movie isn’t really about the plot. (The movie is essentially just a shark trying to eat people). The movie is about two things (ok, maybe three) –
The movie accomplishes at least two of those goals (Can you guess which ones Good and Faithful Reader?). Lively is indeed not pregnant, and she does a fairly competent job as the lead in this – her name isn’t even important. I really liked the fact that they made her an actual person. She has a job, and she uses the skills she has as a medical professional throughout the movie. It’s nice to see a pretty women not just be a complete dummy in a film. Lively sells this too. One of the best scenes in the movie is when she is fixing her own wound, but talking to herself as if she is a patient.
The worst part of the movie is two-fold. First, why would anyone swim towards a dead whale? I know that I watch way too many animal documentaries, but surely a seasoned surfer would know that sharks tend to gorge themselves on this type of thing. Second, I didn’t like the fact that the shark had been caught before. Why is it necessary to include this detail? Are we trying to humanize the shark, make it seem as if he is seeking revenge for this injustice? It’s a FISH!! Jaws did this, but did it much better. So unless we are talking about the overly intelligent sharks from Deep Blue Sea, this is unnecessary. And way overly CGI’d.
Can you do better? Of course you can. But can you do worse? Duh. The sheer amount of shark movies that are out there proves this. Watch this for Lively’s performance, in order to get a new appreciation of her skills at times.
For more on this, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"