The Shallows movie director: Jaume Collet-Serra
The Shallows movie cast: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada
There is something to be said about a film that has practically only two billed actors, and you have to wonder about the second. For, apart from Lively, there are only three things which carry more weight in the film: a seagull that gives her company and earns the nickname ‘Steven Seagull’; Lively’s pert posterior; and her bosom that gets a lingering shot when she is zipping them tight into surf wear.
No, even the shark doesn’t get as grand an entry.
That is not to say that the lovely Ms Lively doesn’t shoulder her first solo effort well — even when given the lame backstory of a dead mother and a father who wants her to move on and finish medical college. Driven by grief and anger, Nancy (Lively) has come to a “secret beach” (Australia, passing off for Mexico), where her mother came 25 years ago while pregnant with her, along with a friend.
The friend never makes an appearance, dismissed away as “down with a hangover”. So Nancy comes to the pristine beach with its blue-green water, clear-blue sky and flock of seagulls all alone, armed with a cellphone, sunscreen and some fruits. There are only two other people there, both men, surfing, but that doesn’t deter her. Nor does the fact that she has no means of going back. Jokingly, she tells the man who has given her a lift to the beach, that she will “Uber” when she wants to return.
Whether that’s a product placement or not, there are plenty others, including for the Sony phone, the Casio watch, and the surf wear.
A few beautiful shots of the three youngsters surfing the waves or just sitting dangling their feet in the water follow. But before long, the shark appears.
Nancy fights and fights, marshalling her limited resources, as well as puts all her medical knowledge to use after her leg suffers a deep gash. We watch on, stitch by bloody stitch. However, if the girl is gutsy, the shark is one stubborn beast too, and keeps returning.
Despite several horrific encounters and the fact that Collet-Serra (director of the chilling Orphan) keeps the film crisp and short, The Shallows can seem repetitive, and a little pointless in the talk that Nancy has going with the seagull and later with a camera. At times, the only thing distracting is the colour tone of Nancy’s face and lips, which follow no rules of being exposed to nature.
One also can’t help thinking about the missing friend. A few more people, who may or may not have ended up in the belly of the shark, wouldn’t have hurt The Shallows.