The Shallows Review
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra.
Jaume Collet-Serra, director of thrillers like Run All Night, Non-Stop and The Orphan, brings us a different type of thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, in fact I got I little uncomfortable checking my watch during the film to see how much more I had to suffer, and I don't mean that in a bad way.
It's mimics Jaws where we don't get to see much of the beast until very much later into the movie and has elements of Cast Away and All Is Lost, human out of their depth Vs the natural world and in this case, a stunning Blake Lively versus a hungry great white shark. There's even a Wilson Volleyball in the form of Steven Seagull (not the pony-tailed Aikido martial artist) who happens to photobomb Blake Lively's scenes at every opportunity he gets. He's actually credited as 'himself' and rightly so, he was great.
It's beautifully shot with plenty of focus-swap scenes to give depth and perspective with an impressive surfing montage. It's very arty in parts, mixing first person bits and there's some clever but annoying smart phone usage that I wasn't too keen on, not a good contrast to the gorgeous scenery shots.
It's suspenseful and cringe-worthy watching the battle of survival pan out. The shark's presence alone, just knowing it's lurking under the surface is quite sinister, acting like it's personal vendetta just to eat her. In parts I was thinking the shark was placing items strategically in the water to tempt her and while nerve-wrecking, a lot happens to makes up the climax.
Blake Lively, from Age of Adeline and wife of Ryan Reynolds acts out amazingly well, showing mixed emotions of a confident yet badly wounded Nancy desperately trying to survive the low tide whilst being circled by a ferocious predator similar to myself waiting for the microwave to go ping.
Now I'm a fan of composer Marco Beltrami especially his work on the remake 3:10 To Yuma, but I didn't really notice the score in this. It quickly gets washed out by the sound of sea, sometimes ambient, other times crushing waves. Another Sia song makes the end credits this year after Neon Demon but I think 'Bird Set Free' is covered by Stacy Downie, great track nonetheless.
It's a clear point that us humans don't belong in the sea and If you're not a fan of the ocean, this film will certainly unsettle you. A really good shark movie.
Running Time: 9
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 9
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for Steven Seagull, someone to watch out for.