Hot Take: Beautiful visuals combined with some tense scenes. The perfect contrast. Kind of the perfect summer popcorn flick, actually.
Whether or not you enjoy the actual movie, one thing is surely certain about The Shallows: It’s beautiful. Not just the setting — a secret beach somewhere in Mexico — or the star — a bikini-clad Blake Lively — or the camerawork even. Everything about it is beautiful. Even in the most terrifying moments, The Shallows has a natural beauty to it that keeps you watching.
While it is aesthetically beautiful, there are other things about the movie that are figuratively beautiful, too. The Shallows knows exactly what it is. This is summer movie fare. The Shallows never pretends to be more. The only place it might go overboard is in the usage of modern technology. However, the overlay of cell phone shots are actually some of the most well done integrations of technology into modern film. There’s some GoPro footage that ties into the film nicely, too. It never feels overindulgent despite the fact that it is a device frequently used.
As for the story, it’s basically Blake Lively vs. a shark. There’s a little noise in the background of the story but nothing overly important. They give Lively’s character a name, I’m sure. I can’t remember it and it’s really not important to anything to look it up. She has a backstory and motivation for being where she is. There’s also plenty of reason why no one is keeping tabs on her as she’s on a secret beach along with two other surfers she happens to run into when she arrives. There’s even motivation for the shark to end up in the shallow end along with Ms. Lively.
The story plays out mostly as expected but there’s plenty of tension, enough intrigue and murky details to keep it interesting for 87 minutes. That run time? That’s beautiful, too. There’s no way this film should be any longer than it is. If the movie wasn’t so visually appealing, cutting out another 5-7 minutes wouldn’t have been a terrible decision, either.
So, if you’re hankering for some summer sizzle, The Shallows should satisfy that appetite perfectly. Get your popcorn ready and catch the wave.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
As Nancy (Okay, I looked it up!), Lively shines as she frantically tries to hold on after a shark attack leaves her stranded a couple hundred yards off the beach in the ocean. While there isn’t much dialogue and there isn’t a ton of depth to the scenes, Lively’s portrayal of fear while teetering on the brink of panic is solid.
- The Shark
Movie sharks are always fun. This one in particular is especially ferocious.
- Every Shot Is Visually Stunning
It’s hard to not be in awe of the visuals. The Shallows might be the most gorgeous film of 2016.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- That Title Isn’t Ironic
The Shallows isn’t very deep. It’s woman vs. shark plain and simple. While this isn’t necessarily a con if you aren’t looking for anything too serious, The Shallows is definitely only a summer fling and won’t blossom into much more.