(US/UK - 2019)
Written and directed by Steven Knight. Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jason Clarke, Diane Lane, Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong, Rafael Sayegh, David Butler, Charlotte Butler, Garion Dowds. (R, 106 mins).
Steven Knight got an Oscar nomination for scripting 2003's DIRTY PRETTY THINGS, and his many other writing credits include the 2007 David Cronenberg film EASTERN PROMISES. He also earned significant acclaim for 2014's LOCKE, which he also directed. In addition, he's the co-creator of WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? and the creator of the Netflix series PEAKY BLINDERS. He's done hired gun writing gigs on commercial fare like 2015's SEVENTH SON, 2016's ALLIED, and 2018's THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB, but SERENITY, his latest auteur effort, is the kind of shit-the-bed clusterfuck that can completely derail an otherwise successful career. Just ask Martin Brest, the director of BEVERLY HILLS COP and MIDNIGHT RUN whose final film to date is GIGLI. Shot in 2017, SERENITY's release date was bumped a couple of times in the fall of 2018 until upstart Aviron Pictures yanked it from the schedule and saved it for January, an almost certain indicator that something was amiss. Trailers made it look like a BODY HEAT-type noir throwback, which unquestionably would've been preferable to the bait-and-switch that Knight haplessly tries to pull off. The end result feels like an homage to the heyday of the erotic thriller borne of a doomed alliance between James M. Cain, Joe Eszterhas, M. Night Shyamalan, Charlie Brooker, and Jack Daniels, populated by an overqualified cast clearly more intrigued by a paid vacation to scenic Mauritius and South Africa than containing whatever the dumpster fire was that Knight cobbled together on the page.