The Shallows / by Kenneth Buff

  4/5 STARS

4/5 STARS

The Shallows is a summer shark movie staring Blake Lively as a bikini clad surfer hanging out on an unknown isolated island in a foreign land. Her phone is on the beach, no one knows where she is, and she's trapped on a rock with a killer shark circling the area. This is the kind of summer popcorn movie that makes going to the theater fun.

The most surprising thing about The Shallows is just how much it all works. The plot is simple (a woman tries to survive a killer shark), the setup is too (a young girl's mother dies, she goes to Mexico with a friend to look for solace...the friend stays at the hotel, hungover), but it's all there, building up to the shark attack and the subsequent fight for survival. In the center of this simple story is Blake Lively, who's performance is straight, believable. And the bikini I mentioned earlier is covered up with a surfing jacket through most of the movie—which makes perfect sense when you're laying on a cold rock in the ocean—and wins the viewer (male and female) over much more than a simple move to keep Blake in as little clothing as possible would. And it's not just Blake that's taking the film serious, the director and the rest of the cast are as well. They're buying into the plot of a killer shark, even though it's a stretch to imagine a great white circling a single beach for 48 hour period, that is the only bit of fantasy in the film, the rest feels believable enough for us to buy into and go with the fun of watching a strong woman try to survive.

See The Shallows if you're looking for some summer fun.