Director Steven Knight tries his hand at an absurd idea and a dream setting Serenity an old-school noir thriller, but combines it with a subject matter that probably makes it the biggest nonsense film of the year. However, that is not unsympathetic. We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) has retreated to a seemingly paradise island, where he takes tourists out deep-sea fishing in his boat, supported by his mate Duke (Djimon Hounsou). Back on land, he usually visits his lover Constance (Diane Lane) and ends his evenings in the local harbor bar. This unexpectedly comes to an end when a new character appears in the daily game: Baker Dill’s mysterious ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway). Desperate, she asks him for help. Baker is supposed to kill her violent new husband Frank (Jason Clarke). Karen begs Baker to take Frank on his boat and throw him overboard at sea for a generous reward. For the sake of their son…
Serenity explanation of the ending
There’s a fundamental question in defining a “trash film”: Must the makers have once had serious intentions that they fundamentally failed at, so that things like budget and the quality of the actors don’t matter? Or do you put the cart before the horse and only something that is made really cheaply and without ambition, perhaps even with the aim of being a so-called trash film, really deserves this label? The answer probably lies somewhere in between, but in this case we clearly choose the former definition, because “Serenity” actually has everything it needs to be a high-class thriller – but it isn’t. Whatever director Steven Knight (“No Turning Back”) with his project that failed resoundingly in the USA: It didn’t work. And in such an outrageous way that the main actors have now distanced themselves from their project. Matthew McConaughey (“White Boy Rick”) and Anne Hathaway (“Ocean’s 8”) felt let down by the PR department, which, contrary to earlier announcements, decided against an extensive press and marketing tour, even though the two megastars had already agreed to it. A broad US launch with a large number of copies also took place contrary to McConaughey’s recommendation; In the end, no one wanted to see the film. You actually have to see “Serenity” to believe what Steven Knight was thinking. What exactly that is can only be speculated about.
Karen (Anne Hathaway) visits her ex-husband. She needs his help.
Assuming that “In the Web of Temptation” would still be remembered in a few years, a short description would probably look something like this: “Wasn’t that the movie where Matthew McConaughey was fishing the whole time?” Of course, this statement only summarizes a fraction of what the (noir) thriller originally titled “Serenity” is about, but it’s the first thing that sticks in your head – Matthew McConaughey really indulges in a large part of the story his screen time for fishing. And if he doesn’t do that, then he just talks about it (as cryptically as possible). It all makes sense in the overall context, but as long as you don’t know what idea is behind it all, the extensive fishing odysseys can seem unintentionally strange. In general, a lot of “Serenity” seems unintentionally funny, because it remains unclear for too long whether Steven Knight intends a parody of the noir thriller genre. Or worse yet: Does he mean it all seriously, but again fails because of the seriousness? Did his consistently overacting actors throw all their acting talent – literally – overboard for the film? How outstanding the idea behind the big picture must be so that in the end all the strange narrative threads that Knight opens up over time make sense. The mountain of hints is already promising.
We can reveal this much: When Steven Knight conjures up a spectacularly crazy twist in the final third that makes you lose sight of hearing and seeing, the apparently senseless hints in retrospect are subordinate to a kind of master plan. At the same time, “In the Web of Temptation” also drifts into narrative and directorial spheres that make the film something completely different than what the marketing promises. The hitherto “only” lame thriller, lost in redundancy and stupid dialogues, which actually doesn’t do justice to this genre designation due to the weaknesses just mentioned, turns out to be a film that finds its inner logic outside of reality; and in this, in turn, remains consistently inconsistent. Especially in the last ten minutes, Steven Knight celebrates an absolutely crazy development under the guise of a message that strives to be so profound that you almost want to congratulate him again for having so much courage to create harmonious harmony. But the calculation doesn’t add up. Characters act inconsistently, internal film rules are varied and turned upside down at will; Not to mention what is possible in real life. But for free: “In the Web of Temptation” is – this much can be revealed – ultimately a science fiction film. Despite all the adverse narrative circumstances, this is downright fascinating.
Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) desperately tries to catch a certain fish.
“In the Web of Temptation” would probably most likely pass as a feature-length film version of a “Black Mirror” episode. Except that Steven Knight seems to have intended something completely different for a long time, both in terms of narrative and direction. With its story of a failed fisherman who is obsessed with a certain catch and his wife, who is abused by her new husband and who asks him to kill her husband in exchange for a horrendous sum of money, everything points to classic crime thriller fare there. But amidst a lot of chatter – sometimes pseudo-philosophical, sometimes banal, sometimes like the cliché of artificially seductive film noir dialogues – any punch is lost. “Serenity” is not exciting, not sexy (despite Anne Hathaway’s provocative clothes and her seductive, crooning voice), not emotional; With the conclusion of the main plot and the introduction of the resolution, everything becomes really banal. Apart from general credibility, far too many approaches remain obscure until the end, and too many open questions remain unanswered. The only one who seemed to have figured out what he was starring in is probably Jason Clarke (“Pet Sematary”), which has already acted much more subtly, but with its self-enjoying asshole attitude, it acts in a way that goes beyond good and evil in a way that only fits in a film like this. “Serenity” is none of that. Watching him fail is almost more fun than the film itself. But you can hardly be really evil about Steven Knight – at least he took a risk.
Conclusion: The over-ambition with which writer and director Steve Knight fails here is remarkable and at least gives the would-be thriller “Serenity,” which is both outrageously exaggerated and ultimately extremely boring, the chance that people will still be talking about it for many years to come Movie in which Matthew McConaughey does nothing but fish the whole time.
“Serenity” can be seen in USA cinemas from May 2nd.