A sea-set noir thriller self-destructs.
“Steven Knight, you’ve got some nerve,” said Michael O’Sullivan in The Washington Post. The veteran British writer-director has made a movie that’s in one sense deliberately bad—“so pulpy, steamy, and cheesy that it has all the appeal of microwaved nachos.” Before a huge plot twist that’s meant to redeem the whole enterprise, the story presents Matthew McConaughey as a salty charter boat captain and Anne Hathaway as an ex-wife who wants to pay him to kill her new husband and feed him to the sharks. For much of the film’s running time, “the dialogue is bad to the point of self-parody, the performances are cartoonish, and the scenario abounds with cliché.” Unfortunately, the twist doesn’t help. Serenity almost surely will be “the daftest movie of 2019,” but I respect that, said David Sims in TheAtlantic.com. In fact, the purposely preposterous twist, which comes halfway through, “just about won me over.” Yet the head-slapping moments never do end, said Miles Surrey in TheRinger.com. We haven’t even mentioned the laughable early sex scenes, the copious shots of McConaughey’s naked butt, or his character’s Ahab-like obsession with a giant tuna. Tack on one of the nuttiest endings of all time and you have Serenity, “an instant so-bad-it’s-good classic.” ■