Action f lick with bite
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.