Movie: The Shallows
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (Out of 5)
Review: Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) from Galveston, Texas, is a depressed young woman. Her mother just passed away after a battle with cancer, and Nancy is having trouble coping. She’s dropped out of med school, and traveled to a very remote part of Mexico to find a hidden beach that her mother once told her about. Finding this beach is something of a quest, and perhaps a way to feel close to her mother again. With the help of local native Carlos (Oscar Jaenada) who gives her a lift through the dense jungle in his jeep, Nancy gets dropped off at her destination.
The beach is indeed a vision of paradise, with a pristine beach of golden sand and blue water with waves perfect for surfing. Taking a few moments to slather on sunscreen protection and squeeze into the polyurethane top over her micro bikini, Nancy paddles out from the beach to catch some waves. She meets two young men already in the water, and they share some good natured banter. As the day gets late, her companions leave, and Nancy stays to catch the last wave of the day. Only she discovers she is not entirely alone after all, as she spies the fin of a very large Great White Shark who begins to take an unhealthy interest in her. And Nancy is 200 yards from shore and safety….
As suspense films go, this is a pretty good one. Blake Lively is a competent actress, and looks amazing in her bikini. The movie becomes a duel for survival, pitting Nancy’s intellect and will to live versus a relentless killing machine of nature. As it turns out, the shark had a pretty good reason to be pissed off. The film is worth seeing for audiences who like their suspense with a few scares thrown in.
Dialogue Nuggets (scarce dialogue in this film): Nancy – “This beach, what’s it called?” Carlos – “If I tell you, I’d have to kill you.”
Nancy to Sister – “You would not believe the perfect tube I just caught.”
Nancy (alone) – “Where are you taking me?”
Nancy (alone) – “Are you still out there?”
Nancy (alone) – “I’m about 200 yards from the beach. I never found out what it was called.”
Huh? What the ….: After Carlos drives through a tropical jungle where there are no roads, and finally drops Nancy off at this beach in the middle of nowhere, she tells Carlos she’ll call an Uber to get back to the hotel. Seriously? Now that is what I call some major optimism….
Kudos For The Little People: As great as Blake Lively looks in her bikini, she is no surfer. Give it up for her double, Kelly Richardson, who did the stunt work. Kelly is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, and was on their triathlon team. Kelly is certified as a rescue diver, and has performed in a circus as an aerialist and acrobat. You go, Girl!
Oscar Worthy: If there is a category for best performance by an animal in film, I nominate Sully the Seagull. This bird really chews up the scenery….
Nitnoid Fact: Some of the blood in the film is real. Blake really did get her nose smacked hard enough to bleed in an action shot. The kid is a real trooper!
Nitnoid Fact #2: The beach ain’t in Mexico. It is at Lord Howe Island in Queensland, Australia.