Don’t be fooled by the title of Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway’s upcoming neo-noir thriller Serenity, out Jan. 25, because the film’s plot is actually very intense. McConaughey plays a fishing boat captain named Baker Dill who has found a new life in Plymouth Island. But his life is shaken up once he’s offered $10 million by his ex-wife Karen (Hathaway) to take her abusive husband out on a fishing excursion and kill him by kicking him off the boat and leave him to be eaten by sharks. And as extreme as that sounds could Serenity be based on a true story?
Fortunately, it's not. The movie was actually written and directed by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, whose filmography heavily leans towards thrillers, including last year’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web and Eastern Promises. But Knight wanted to create something that felt different from his other projects, while still keeping within the genre he loves, according to an interview with Variety. “[I wanted to make] something unexpected and surprising. I wanted to take the genre and upend it,” said the writer/director.
And the trailer definitely hits at some extreme twists and turns. Baker has to wrestle his conscience, choosing between killing a man who is seemingly evil and putting his own life at risk, or not following through for his own safety and risking Karen and their son’s life. At the same time, Baker grows wary of the people in Plymouth Island, questioning whether there’s some sort of conspiracy going on too. “Everybody knows something I don’t,” says Baker in the trailer.
The trailer also shows Karen’s husband bloodily slumped next to his bathtub, hinting at Baker’s plan not quite panning out. And he also crosses paths with a mysterious man who tells him that he knows about his plan to kill Karen’s husband, so there’s a lot going on.
But besides leaving you with plenty of questions about what’s actually happening in Plymouth Island, this film marks a reunion for McConaughey and Hathaway. The pair starred in Interstellar back in 2014, and in an interview with Glamour, Hathaway expressed how positive the experience of working with him again was, as well as working with Knight for the first time.
“[Knight] distinguishes himself by always, in every scenario, behaving as though we were two human beings trying to tell the same story. I never felt there was a power dynamic at play; rather, it was a respectful, artistic collaboration. The same for Matthew McConaughey, Jason Clarke, and the crew,” said Hathaway.
And the director had nothing but praise for McConaughey and Hathaway in the aforementioned Variety interview, too. “They’re such totally committed actors, with such ability, poise and grace. They have so many arrows in their quivers, and everyone brought so much to the material. Their performances elevated the whole thing 100%,” said Knight.
It may not be based on a true story, but Serenity has a gripping story that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.