In her latest film Blake Lively takes on a super shark
If you thought Blake Lively had a tough time navigating the back biting of the Upper East Side in “Gossip Girl,” then you’ll want to see her latest role. In “The Shallows, she takes on a supercharged shark and I was eager to see the film. Partly because I miss the entire “Gossip Girl” gang. Mainly because I thought it might be quite funny seeing the former Upper East-Sider in what I was sure to be, a campy film. It was much more.
Plot: In this film, medical student Nancy (Blake Lively) retreats to a secret island known for surfing haven. She uses the trip as a way to escape a recent loss in her life. She leaves behind her family and medical school, while coping with feelings of hopelessness. Seeking peace and serenity in the clear blue waters of Mexico, Nancy finds the exact opposite. She becomes stranded only 200 yards from shore with a shark hunting her after she swims upon his feeding ground.
Engagement: Not since seeing the man-eating shark in “Jaws” did I think I needed to see another flick featuring a shark feasting on beach goers. But “The Shallows” proved me wrong. Unlike your typical horror or thriller, this movie provided a quick, but effective backstory that allows the viewer to connect with Nancy. The film opens with what seems like the beginning of the story. It soon becomes apparent that what occurred initially are actually incidents that take place towards the conclusion of the film.
We see Nancy make her way to the beach, get acquainted with the surf and meet some local surfers. To Nancy’s delight, she eventually has the beach to herself. Just when she is enjoying her secluded oasis, she’s attack beneath the water. It’s a shark, and from that point it’s a struggle to stay alive until help comes. Now the viewer will see how the opening scene relates to the ending of the story, setting a dramatic tone that gives a sense of foreboding as realization sets in that the intro might spell impending doom for Nancy.
Lively’s acting is on point. Her character Nancy reminded me of Tom Hank‘s character Chuck in “Cast Away” (2000). In Chuck’s time of loneliness he had his beloved ball ‘Wilson’ and for Nancy it’s a seagull with a dislocated wing. Beyond this point, the films aren’t comparable, but what they do have in common—survival. Is “The Sallows” campy at some points? Sure it is, after all, you’ve got this cute young woman fighting a big bad shark. But Lively manages to relay enough emotion to evoke empathy from the most discriminating viewer.
Style: The look in this film is straight out of what you might see from Billabong. It’s quintessential surfer girl style featuring eclectic swimwear, layered jewelry, and even Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor sneakers.
Release: Friday, June 24th
Image source: Sony Pictures