Ac­tion f lick with bite

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES -

THE SHALLOWS (M)

Direc­tor: Jaume Col­let-Serra (Run All Night) Star­ring: Blake Lively, Ós­car Jae­nada, An­gelo Jo­sue Lozano Corzo, Jose Manuel Tru­jillo Salas. Ver­dict: Choose life ... or get chewed.

A MOVIE fea­tur­ing noth­ing but Blake Lively in a bat­tle of wits with one very ag­i­tated shark. And it de­liv­ers more than many of the big-bud­get block­busters that have crashed and burned in re­cent months. Says a lot about what a crazy, mixed-up year it has been at the cin­ema, doesn’t it?

While there ain’t much deep or mean­ing­ful to The Shallows, it makes good on its sim­ple prom­ise of keep­ing the splashes, gnashes and gashes com­ing while ten­sion lev­els con­tinue to peak at just the right side of un­bear­able.

In a re­fresh­ingly re­duc­tive set-up, Lively plays Nancy, a med stu­dent go­ing through some kind of mid-col­lege cri­sis that only a surf­ing hol­i­day in Mex­ico can fix.

One sunny day, Nancy scores a ride to a re­mote beach to catch some waves. The lo­ca­tion is a pic­turesque cove that is home to a swell of such con­sis­tent high qual­ity that the lo­cals keep its name and GPS co-or­di­nates a se­cret from nosy tourists.

Once this back­ground in­for­ma­tion is logged with the viewer, The Shallows gets straight down to busi­ness. Nancy wades out alone to where the waves are break­ing best, and be­fore long, that ter­ri­fy­ingly ter­ri­to­rial shark is do­ing his worst.

At its core, The Shallows is as tra­di­tional as a shark movie can be. The vil­lain is a finned food-pro­ces­sor al­ways ready to make him­self an­other sur­fie smoothie. The hero is a hu­man half-scared out of her wits, and half-clever enough to never to run out of ideas about how to sur­vive.

So what’s not to like here? Not much. You’ll be afraid, amused, alarmed and rather ex­hausted, all in­side 80 short, sharp, shark-in­fested min­utes.

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