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The Shallows

Opening Date
11 Aug 2016
PG13 Some Violence and Intense Sequences
86 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Jaume Collet-Serra
Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Sedona Legge
In the taut thriller The Shallows, Nancy (Blake Lively) is surfing alone on a secluded beach when she is attacked by a great white shark and stranded just a short distance from shore. Though she is only 200 yards from her survival, getting there proves the ultimate contest of wills. It’s Jaws for a new generation.
By Flora  03 Aug 2016
No film has ever came close to the 1975 classic ‘Jaws’, but ‘The Shallows’ is a decent popcorn fare that keeps you at the edge of your seats. 
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Blake Lively stars as a medical student Nancy who heads to Mexico in search of a ‘paradise’ beach where her late mother once took a picture (and perhaps a dive) at the scenic beach. She travels to the secluded coast alone for some personal time and to catch some waves, unaware that a great white shark is lurking in the waters.

After enjoying herself for some time, she swims towards a floating dead whale, to realise that she stumbled into a shark’s feeding ground. Narrowly escaping her death, she manages to swim to a large rock in the middle of the sea to fend for herself. Calculating her risk and laying out her possibilities before the next high tide, Nancy is determine to survive the ordeal and outsmart her predator on the deserted beach.

Based on a script by Anthony Jaswinski and directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, best known for Liam Neeson action films like Unknown and Non-Stop, The Shallows presents nothing short of great establishing shots of the beautiful beach with panoramic background of its turquoise water.  Having said that, the butt and chest close-ups are certainly nonessential - you don’t have to always have a close-up of a female body part when she’s dressed in bikini. Hollywood, enough of that! 

Her only ‘companion’, an injured seagull named Steven (as she calls it) actually does steal the limelight from Lively. There are cute interactions with the human and its new-found ‘pet’, but much on the film’s premise lies in the other creature - the rather intelligent Great White that clearly understands the nature of toying with the human’s brain. 

It’s ultimately a film about endurance and survival, with the heavy reliance of its imagery and visual enticement. There are minimal to no dialogues for at least half of the film, which is essentially a testament of Lively’s acting chops; and she did a bloody (no pun intended) good job.

Lively is fantastic here, giving us one of those action-lead performances with much grit and tenacity. It is also said that she did most of her stunts herself which included many of the swims, dives and surfs. When most of the screen time is all about that one actor, it tends to drift into a null and mundane period, but Lively does justice to her character and gives us a perplexed and layered performance that brings up the tempo of the narrative. 

Like most shark films, there are a lot of anticipation and the water-churning climax for that thrill factor. However, the decision to add humorous lines and random scenarios like dolphins jumping out of the water, ruined the tone and mood of the setup.

The film is no big thriller epic, but it sure does promises some of the squirms and heart-beating moments that leave one at the edge of your seat.
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Trailers / Videos
Official Trailer #2
Official Trailer #1

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