Tony's Take


The Shallows posterWhat Was Once in the Deep Is Now in The Shallows

“The Shallows” follows a young woman named Nancy, as she is trying to find a secret beach that her mother found some years ago.  As we learn more about Nancy, we realize her mother passed away from cancer and she’s visiting the beach in-memory of her.  However, her friend was hungover and didn’t make the trip from the hotel, but she arrives and there are already two other surfers in the water.  She puts-on her wet suit and joins them.  After a surfing montage, the two guys head-in for the day, but Nancy wants one last wave.  She crashes hard and winds-up next to a dead whale, unknowingly invading a shark’s feeding territory.  She is bitten hard on her leg, suffering a nice gash, but she is able to make it to a nearby rock; her only chance for survival and 200 yards from the shore.  The rest of the film follows Nancy, as she must use every survival instinct she knows to escape from what she believes is almost certain death.

Blake Lively stars as Nancy, the film’s solitary protagonist and the sole focus of the film.  Acting on your own with no opposition can be extremely difficult (especially while being half-naked the whole time), but Lively does a tremendous job and the emotions she conveys are authentic and real; so much so that it seems she is experiencing this events in real life.  This film has certainly proven that Blake Lively can act!  Oscar Jaenada plays a local who helps Nancy get to her destination.  Brett Cullen has a few scenes as her father and Sedona Legge plays her younger sister, Chloe.  There are a few other minor characters in the film, however their roles are uncredited as of post-time.

When you look at the premise of “The Shallows”, a girl trapped barely off-shore by a shark, one can easily see why this film would be glossed-over; however once you allow yourself to invest in the story and the storytelling, and you have a tense thriller with beautiful scenery (not just talking about Lively) that constantly keeps you guessing.  The biggest success, and possibly surprise, of the film is Blake Lively.  With 80% of the film focused on her and her alone, she carries the film with ease.  She successfully conveys a wide-range of emotion throughout, including one impressingly-unnerving scene involving her having to apply medical care to herself.  “The Shallows” also does a fine job of expanding on Nancy’s character and what is driving her in-life.  She often talks to herself while stranded, but, as we learn, she’s a medical student and she goes-through her situations as if she is taking care of a patient.  The film is surrounded with beautiful imagery, from the wide shots of the ocean and the scenery to the surfing montage; other than the shark being there, it’s definitely a place you would want to visit!  It’s not as if “The Shallows” was a fresh idea, but it knows exactly what type of film it is and it delivers enough suspense and scares to keep you entertained from start-to-finish.  “The Shallows” has a run time of 87 minutes and it never drags, but does become a bit predictable at times.  “The Shallows” doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is, which is why you find yourself enjoying it much more than you think you would!

“The Shallows” features a young woman who’s been stranded near-shore, but is surrounded by a shark.  The film features beautiful scenery, tense and uncomfortable sequences, and a surprisingly well-told story.  If you are headed to the movies this weekend and are looking for a short flick that’s entertaining, go see “The Shallows”!

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THE SHALLOWS is rated PG-13 for bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language, in theaters June 24!

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