Editing with Teeth
I might take up swimming after viewing The Shallows. Whatís the worst that could happen? A shark attack? Well, thatís the situation facing med student Nancy, played by Blake Lively.
A sentimental journey to the beach visited by her pregnant mother gives Nancy more than she bargained for. Although she can swim that provides little comfort when big white smiley appears. The shark destroys her surfboard and even chomps down on the nearest available help. When the sea turns red, sheís glad to have something solid between her and those teeth. So she rests on a nearby reef as the dangerous creature slowly circles.
Kudos to director Jaume Collet-Serra for his smart direction. For instance, one death scene plays mostly off the reaction of his lead actress. Iíd say the B movie extremes behind Renny Harlinís Deep Blue Sea are long gone.
Technically, editor Joel Negron offers an intense display of his talents. This is editing with teeth. Also, clever spotting by composer Marco Beltrami allows the excitement to build. Itís difficult trying to match John Williamsí Jaws. Therefore, Beltrami adopts a style more conducive to the narrative than any type of homage. On that note, The Shallows deserves a poem:
Vacation to motherís special place.
A nostalgic journey just in case.
Because the beach takes her fancy,
thereís much sightseeing for Nancy.
Injured and stuck on a reef
as the shark searches for extra beef.
All help appears fruitless.
Bravery ending up in a mess.
Some company in Steven Seagull.
Yet high tide means no time to lull.
A story with only two dead spots
overcoming junkyard thriller rots.
Blake Lively a confident choice
to play a woman with the strongest voice.
Did The Shallows work for me? You bet.
Even though the Academy might forget.
Marco Beltramiís best score in many a moon
The rhythms and orchestra set to swoon.
Wonderful camerawork from Flavio Martinez Labiano.
Generous scares he is prone to show.
More compelling matter surrounding the buoy.
Such secrets are safe with me, Iím sorry.
The Shallows nodding to more recent fare
No sign of ďda-doom,Ē so beware!
Although Jaws gave this genre credence
Few pictures pay obedience.
Thatís where The Shallows proves different --
setting us on a course entirely competent.
Itís better than Shark Night Iíll wager.
Little need to respond to that pager.
Put it down to a fresh spark
of inspiration minus the lark.
My poem can only tell you so much.
Safe to say this film offers no crutch.
The story takes priority.
The power of one over the majority.
The Blu-Ray I cannot wait to buy
as seconds and thirds comply.
The Shallows might even take
the top of the cinematic cake.
(Released by Columbia Pictures and rated "PG-13" for bloody images, intense sequences of peril, and brief strong language.)