Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring: Blake Lively
Runtime: 87 min
The Shallows tells the story of how Nancy (played by Blake Lively) got stranded 200 yards from the beach due to the sudden appearance of a great white shark. She's going to need all of her survival skills and medical background to get back to the sand without being eaten by the shark and, with this, we have a contained exciting thriller (my favorite type of movies).
Is it the great "shark-movie" that we wanted since Jaws?
I'll start by answering the question above: yes ... and no. The Shallows is, in my opinion, the best "shark-movie" that I've seen since the one directed by the great Steven Spielberg! However, that's not saying much since there aren't any decent movies involving sharks since then. It has some great exciting details, but some other big issues that I'm going to discuss below.
I need to begin with Blake Lively. She has one of her best (if not the best) performances in this film and she needed to be at the top of her game since she was basically the only human character that mattered. She was able to transmit all of the emotions that one would feel in a situation like that (fear, pain, vulnerability) and, most importantly, she made me care for her. In a contained movie like this, with only one character to worry about, if the audience member doesn't feel like the protagonist is human enough, then the whole thing crumbles. Not in this case, she's the main reason why I actually enjoyed this movie.
The CGI shark is amazing, really well defined, as well as the rest of the environment. Jaume Collet-Serra could have done a better job. He tries to elevate the excitement of this film to a certain level that he's never able to reach due to a series of issues, but it's still exciting enough for me to be entertained. Just not as much as I was expecting.
There are some minor issues that bothered me a little, like the constant advertising to go-pros or even the slow first act (in a movie like this, we just want it to get to the shark attack instantly), but never at an annoying level. The thing that really messed up the movie and brought its excitement way down was the conflicting tones throughout it. The background music that was chosen to support certain scenes were incredibly off. There are some really serious, tense and emotional scenes with more intense music, but the director was never able to maintain that level of thrill and intensity. That's, by far, my major problem with this film.
There's one other issue that, if I have to describe it in one word, it has to be "stupid". Without spoiling anything, there's this question that keeps being asked throughout the whole film, again and again, in order to create something that can draw us more close to the story and be more captivated ... And then, it just forgets it. It literally drops it and the movie ends without answering that question, leaving me frustrated instead of relieved or ... "complete". I think you know what I'm talking about.
Still, The Shallows is an entertaining movie ... to watch at home. It's one of those movies to watch on holidays with some friends and family when there's nothing decent on TV. Blake Lively is amazing and there are some great exciting scenes, even if they're brought down by some not-that-good directing.