Here’s the basic plot Summary to “The Shallows”. A very attractive beautiful blonde from Texas named Nancy (Blake Lively) has trek off to a tropical destination somewhere near Tijuana Mexico for some “R & R”; recreation and relaxation (actually shot off of Wales, Australia). Why? She needs a break from things as she has had a very life altering experience and needs some “me time” to escape. So she decides no less to go SURFING – ALONE on a SECLUDED BEACH – THAT NO ONE WILL TELL HER THE NAME OF and THAT SHE HAS NEVER BEEN TO BEFORE. Oh, and she goes surfing alone almost WHEN IT’S FREAKING SUNSET. So you mix in some American arrogance and naivety, you simply have to ask yourself the question, WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
Well unless you somehow never saw one single promo for this film it is quite apparent she is going to be attacked by a shark. And not just any old shark per se, but the Sadam Hussein Lord Vader of the ocean in the form of a Great White Shark no less, obviously to make things ultimately dramatic.
Blake Lively is very attractive; no one has ever looked better attacked by a shark laying on a secluded rock 200 feet from a tropical shore before. But if you took all of the slow motion scenery out of this movie’s first 23 minutes it would be hard pressed in real time to be more than 1 hour long verses it’s actual 1:27 running time.
So we are then forced to watch “Nancy” try to outsmart a shark who acts less a natural predator like in “Jaws” and more like a singularly focused serial homicidal killer in the hybrid form of a fish slash Jeffery Dahmer slash Ted Bundy. I am no Marine Biologist, but sharks should only kill for food. My dorsal gray fin monster friend here seems to kill people because he really, really likes it. I mean he really likes it.
The first 25 minutes of this film is exquisite to look at. You see an exquisite looking and tanned Blake Lively (who sounds more Southern Californian than Texan) strolling about on a tropical white beach, swimming slow motion under crystal clear blue waters and a backdrop of pristine blue skies. Oh, did I mention Lively is in a bikini the whole time. I mean why wouldn’t you want to see that. Hell I thought Blake was hot as hell in the crime thriller “The Town” and she was a blue jean wearing runny nose crack head in that role. Men (me) are so easy.
The problem I had with “The Shallows” is it appropriately named, shallow. The shark didn’t feel genuine, the idea of swimming or surfing in waters alone seemed beyond silly and stupid and the few supporting characters in the film are set up glaringly thin as the appetizers for things yet to come, literally and figuratively.
Still, you can watch “The Shallows” pretty easily mostly because everything about it is so very easy on the eyes, so for that measure alone it works well as a decent entertaining trip to the cinema. But overall the legacy of the more iconic film “Jaws” is very much safe as the superior effort. Why? Mostly because while “The Shallows” has some decent moments of tension it is ultimately very short on the more needed smart, sophisticated, complex and penetrating tension that should have kept you seriously asking yourself – wondering if you will; WILL SHE MAKE IT?
2 – 1/2 Stars