The Shallows review by Rashid Irani: A Lively effort
Direction: Jaume Collet-Serra
Actors: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada
Rating: 3 / 5
Forty-one summers ago, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws kept millions of vacationers away from the beaches.
No such qualms beset this film’s heroine, a seasoned surfer (Blake Lively) seeking solace from the recent death of her mother. Arriving at a secluded Mexican shoreline, she unpacks her board and sets off to ride the crystalline waves.
But the therapeutic trip turns into a nightmare when she finds that she’s drifted into the feeding ground of ravenous sharks. After managing to swim to an outcrop of rock, the bedevilled surfer must call upon all her resourcefulness, and her training as a former med student, if she is to have any hope of surviving.
In a nod to Tom Hanks’s volleyball pal Wilson in Cast Away (2000), our heroine has an injured seagull she likes to talk to. This is less surprising than the fact that she manages to stitch up her own leg wound — with an earring.
For the most part, Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra — best known for his collaboration with Liam Neeson on the actioners Non-Stop, Unknown and Run All Night — keeps the viewer engrossed without resorting to gratuitous blood-letting.
More than a few of the horrific attacks — the great white feasts on three humans and the carcass of a humpback whale — occur off-screen. Unfortunately, the shark-versus-surfer saga spirals into a climax that is silly rather than scary.
As the svelte bikini-clad braveheart, Lively is lovely, and surprisingly convincing as an action star.
Still, this is at best a guilty pleasure; B-movie fun while it lasts.
Watch the trailer for The Shallows
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