New to On Demand: Serenity

Serenity © 2017 Photo by Graham Bartholomew

What really is serenity? It’s a state of being, a feeling of calmness or tranquility. So why is it that after viewing Serenity I feel anything but serene?

Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) lives as a charter fishing boat captain who operates off the coast of Plymouth Island, where everyone seems to know everyone’s business and everyone lets you know they know. Day after day, he obsesses over catching one solitary tuna that has evaded capture several times.

Dill isn’t married, but his frequent visits to Constance (Diane Lane) substitute for a relationship — well, maybe less of a relationship and more of a way to pay for his fishing excursions when the customers don’t exist.

We quickly learn there is more than meets the eye to Dill. Early on, he lets his first mate Duke (Djimon Hounsou) go for no real good reason. He also has an ex-wife, Karen (Anne Hathaway), who seems to have known him when his name was John and who has just come back into his life with a dangerous proposition.

Why did this ex-military man disappear to Plymouth Island, leaving behind his son with Karen? Why did he change his name?

McConaughey delivers a performance as Dill that seems absolutely disjointed. One moment he’s driven, the next drunk, one moment resourceful and the next totally reliant on those around him. None of these moments make much sense — until the filmmakers try to tie it all together with the twist at the end that was just weird.

Performances in the film from normally reliable actors like Lane, Hounsou, Hathaway and Jason Clarke are more paint-by-number since they never get a chance to absorb their roles and create something special. It’s all because of the twist, and while it makes more sense after you see it, you still are a little upset with it.

As Lloyd Braun told George Costanza in Seinfeld, “Serenity now, insanity later.” I viewed Serenity, and I’m now experiencing a touch of insanity after the journey I went on.

 

Serenity is available On Demand and on DVD beginning April 30. Check your cable system for availability