Hello Everyone! Here’s another Up Stream, bringing you reviews of hidden gems available via streaming that we feel deserve a look. This time we review the shark thriller, The Shallows!
The Shallows is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Orphan) and stars Blake Lively (Age of Adeline, Green Lantern). Ms. Lively continues to impress me, she manages to look so different in each of her films I’ve even had to double check online that it is indeed her! One of the things that may have hurt Shallows on it’s initial release is people assume they know what the film is all about…yes, its a shark movie…and yes it takes place in “the shallows”, but if you give it a try I think you will be surprised by not only how well it is shot, with beautiful cinematography by Flavio Martínez Labiano (who also worked with the director on Unknown), but how the story unfolds in a unique way that kept my attention throughout. Even though this isn’t a movie everyone saw, it actually did well compared to it’s budget, $55 Million domestic vs. $17 million budget, with a total gross of almost $120 worldwide.
As usual we will keep the spoilers to a minimum. Blake plays Nancy, a med school student on extended leave from her studies after the
passing of her mother. She longs to recapture her connection with her mom, so she drops out and travels to Mexico to find this “perfect beach” her mother always told her about. I really enjoyed the dialog between Nancy and her guide to the secluded beach with no name. The first part of the movie has some fantastic underwater photography. I’m not really into surfing, but this movie made it look super cool. As the afternoon wears on and the other surfers decide to call it a day, Nancy decides to catch “one last wave”…which in a shark movie is like saying, “I’m going to check the basement” in a horror flick. The plot device used to place the shark at this particular beach was not only disturbing, but different than you would expect…it really made me uneasy watching it. Even though most of the movie takes place in basically one location, I was not bored being confined there. It gave me a sense of what the protagonist herself was going through. One of my favorite parts was the “birb” (played by Sully). There were some really cute interactions that were not forced.
When is comes to the action, there was plenty of it and the scenes were suspenseful. I think one of the hallmarks of a good shark film is the impending doom lurking just beyond what you can see…that build up can make or break the film. The shark was a formidable villain and the climax of the film was nail biting. I love a movie where even if you do everything the right way, you can still lose…it is that much more terrifying to think there is no solution or escape, Get Out was the same (and excellent by the way!) I definitely recommend watching The Shallows while you scan for something entertaining on NetFlix, Amazon, or cable to spend your evening enjoying.
photos: Columbia Pictures