When I read the premise of this film - Blake Lively goes surfing on an exotic beach and gets stranded in shallow waters inhabited by a hungry shark - I was quick in dismissing it to be yet another studio backed thriller with an objectifying gaze on a slim actress in a skimpy outfit. Boy, was I mistaken! For one, kudos to director Jaume Collet-Serra for his perspective which treats Blake Lively's Nancy as a full blown character and not just eye-candy blockbuster material. Written by Anthony Jaswinski, the movie takes its time setting up Nancy, the person, introducing us smartly to her profession, her motives, her needs and desires, her grit, tenacity, and vulnerabilities. This works well because when disaster strikes, the consequences and character development don't feel unnatural. The narrative does well to prop this up, by focusing less on spectacle and more on Nancy and the immediate world around her. Blake Lively is quite adept as Nancy, with a fine balance of strength and softness in eyes, expressions, and movements. It wouldn't be a bad idea to invest in a fine Blu-Ray of this film either, as it spectacularly combines aerial, local, and underwater footage (DOP Flavio Martinez Labiano) to create a thoroughly cohesive narrative. Seldom has underwater cinematography been so effectively used to tell a story. "The Shallows" is available via usual On-Demand channels.
Atlantic City says so much about two people in a relationship, without saying too much.
A comedy that is fun, while being just good cinema in the first place.