Saturday, July 2, 2016
The Shallows (2016) **1/2
As a summertime diversion The Shallows gets the job done well enough. A breath of fresh air after the stultifying Independence Day: Resurgence. A minimal story of survival, nothing more and nothing less. Medical student Nancy goes on vacation in Mexico to pay tribute to her mom. She arrives at an isolated beach where she surfs with a few guys, but keeps testing the waves after they leave. Then a shark appears. That's the setup. Blake Lively does fine work in a physically grueling performance. Also, we get the best performance in film history from a seagull (outside of The Birds). Director Jaume Collet-Serra paced the film well and builds up a reasonable level of suspense. When the shark does appear it's hard not to think of Jaws. CGI sharks just don't carry the same weight as a clunky mechanical one. Anyway, don't go surfing by yourself at the beach. And never separate yourself from your phone - they need to make those things waterproof. Not necessarily breaking new ground, The Shallows does recall great summer movies from the past.