Sunday, September 25, 2016

Video review: "The Shallows"

Sometimes you have to resist knocking a movie for what it isn’t and just appreciate it for what it is. “The Shallows” is a modestly ambitious girl-versus-shark thriller that is breezily entertaining and, yes, rather dumb. But it acknowledges and embraces its own simplicity: 87 minutes of Blake Lively in a bikini, battling a voracious man-killing beast.

That really is the whole story. Nancy is a young doctor-in-training who’s taking a break to surf in Mexico after a tragedy. She’s returning to the same remote beach where her mom surfed while pregnant with her in 1991. It’s an idyllic getaway and a chance to heal… until a great white rips open her leg and traps her on some shoals a few hundred yards offshore.

The rest of the movie (directed by Jaume Collet-Serra from a screenplay by Anthony Jaswinski) is Nancy trying to out-think the shark. It circles constantly, more a force of malevolence than a mindless devourer. She has only her medical skills and perseverance to help her survive.

Nancy is constantly verbalizing her plight, which I found distracting, as if the filmmakers didn’t trust their actress and the audience to communicate what the character is thinking without spelling it out for us.

It’s a great-looking picture, with some terrific above- and -below water photography, plus some snappy editing.

“The Shallows” won’t linger in your memory, but it should keep you entertained.

Bonus features are so-so. They include deleted scenes and four making-of featurettes: “Shooting in The Shallows,” “How to Build a Shark,” “Finding the Perfect Beach: Lord Howe Island” and “When Sharks Attack.”



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