‘Serenity’ Review: Matthew McConaughey Stars in ‘A Simple Favor’ for Dudes, but More Insane

IndieWire | 1/24/2019 | Staff
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There aren’t enough maritime puns in the world to describe the roller coaster that is Matthew McConaughey’s latest showboating project, but even if there were — “Serenity” already used them all. The movie can best be described as a neo-noir soap opera about a man’s quest for a giant tuna, but it’s so over the top it nearly sinks under the weight of delicious insanity. There is a reason that women and gay men own the camp genre; machismo is so ubiquitous that a send-up doesn’t read as satire, at least not this one. The women are the only ones in on the joke, thanks to heavy hitters Anne Hathaway and Diane Lane. Hathaway moves like liquid dynamite, pouring sultriness into her every inch of screen time. She and Lane are the only ones who know how best to handle the ridiculous script: milk it for all it’s worth.

It’s an intentional ridiculousness, cultivated precisely by writer/director Steven Knight. As a screenwriter, Knight earned critical success with “Eastern Promises” (2007), “Dirty Pretty Things” (2002), and as the creator of the BBC series “Peaky Blinders.” This is his third time directing his own script, most successfully with 2014’s Tom Hardy-starring “Locke.” As the many course corrections of “Serenity” unfold, leading up to one big reveal that explains the movie’s arch tone, it is clear that Knight is entirely in control, though perhaps not in his right mind.

Movie - Shot - Fishing - Boat - Middle

The movie opens with a soaring overhead shot of a fishing boat in the middle of pristine blue seas, accompanied by a dramatic drum-heavy soundtrack. The boat belongs to a rugged, stubborn man named, in the movie’s first unbelievable twist, Baker Dill (McConaughey). While out with two tourists and his first mate Duke (Djimon Hounsou), he gets a line on the one; the massive tuna fish...
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