'Shallow' Yet Never Feels Like It Drowning
The beauty of going into a film with no expectations is that even if the movie is bad or so-so, at the end, because you didn't expect anything, you still feel like a winner. That is certainly how I felt when seeing The Shallows.
The Shallows follows the story of a medical student named Nancy (Blake Lively) who goes off vacation in Mexico and when she goes to a secluded beach to go surfing, she finds herself going toe to toe with a vicious shark.
I'll start off with Blake Lively. Even if the story seems too familiar, Lively successfully carries the picture on her shoulders and takes a character who could've easily been portrayed as a meek victim into sort of an everywoman warrior trying to fight her way out and put on a brave face in the midst of the terror taking place.
Next, I really liked the opening sequence where we see a kid looking at footage on a camera, showing a shark victim from the camera's point of view as he is being attacked. To me, that really set the tone for the entire picture. The cinematography by Flavio Labiano was also beautiful to look at. In particular, the scenes taking place during the day in the picturesque ocean stood out because they show how a vicious shark attack doesn't have to take place on a grim dark night to have a grim effect on the audience.
As I've said earlier, the story of a person stranded on their own fighting for their lives was quite familiar. There is also a subplot involving Nancy's mother passing away that, when thinking about it, comes off as a little forced. It's interesting because it does give the character a motivation to try and survive yet at the same time, it struck me as forced and cliched.
Overall, The Shallows doesn't delve into any deeper waters yet is kept afloat thanks to its lead performance by Blake Lively and its beautiful cinematography. If you want something short and sweet where you can turn your brain off for about an hour and a half, I say go ahead and see it. It's nothing groundbreaking but it's worth seeing in theaters.