“They like to say everybody knows everything,” says Matthew McConaughey in the trailer for Serenity, his upcoming film with Anne Hathaway. “Wouldn’t it be funny if the truth was that nobody knows anything?”
The actual truth? We’ve viewed the two trailers for this film (the first dropped to surprisingly little attention in June) multiple times, and we’re still not entirely sure what, exactly, this movie is about, if anything at all. There’s enough going on here: a blonde Hathaway in femme fatale mode, Matthew McConaughey doing cliff dives in a Speedo, outfits apparently borrowed from Melania Trump’s colonial-chic collection, and, just for good measure, a CGI shark. But what does it all mean when taken together?
Well, for one thing, it appears to be a big, A-list return to Hollywood’s ’80s and ’90s fascination with sexy neo-noir thrillers. (Move over rom-coms, there’s a new guilty-pleasure genre angling for a comeback). With two Oscar winners (McConaughey and Hathaway) and two other nominees (Djimon Hounsou and Diane Lane) making up the core of the cast and an Oscar-nominated screenwriter behind both the script and the camera in Steven Knight, we shouldn’t write the film off. Especially considering it will mark Hathaway’s first role after wrestling her way back into the public’s good graces with her self-aware turn in this summer’s Ocean’s 8.
Here, Hathaway and McConaughey play a divorced couple who apparently have since gone on to live out the fantasies every divorced person has at least once during his or her separation: The husband goes to live on a boat off some remote island, while the wife goes on to marry a rich guy.
Eventually, though, Hathaway tracks down her ex-husband in his hideaway—in the movie the island called “Plymouth,” but it will be the first Hollywood movie to shoot mostly in the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius—to figure out what he’s been doing.
Turns out that’s being the captain of a fishing boat and jumping into the ocean in tiny swimsuits. (The trailers do not provide a close-up of McConaughey in his Speedo, but your $16 movie ticket has to pay for something). All in all, not a bad life.
Meanwhile, Hathaway has married a rich guy played by Jason Clarke. McConaughey had warned her that he didn’t seem like a good guy, and it turns out he was correct. Of course, the fact he shows up on a tropical island dressed like he’s gringo Scarface should be our first clue he’s not exactly a sweetie with a heart of gold. The fact that he seems to have a habit of examining his wife’s body for imperfections and signs of transaction blows past warning signs and lands directly in the “creeper” red alert zone.
So what’s Hathaway’s solution? “I will give you $10 million to drop my husband into the ocean for the sharks,” she tells McConaughey. Apparently, her new husband has never met her ex-husband, so, sure, the plan seems plausible enough. Even more helpful is that in his postdivorce evolution, McConaughey has apparently changed his name from “John” to the more island-bum appropriate “Baker Dill.”
McConaughey then spends a good amount of time musing about the morality of it all in very McConaughey-esque terms to anyone who will listen, or, in the case of a bait-shop employee, even those who won’t. (The actress is so far uncredited on IMDb, but clearly she brings the same scene-stealing energy to Serenity that Luenell brought to A Star Is Born.)
Then a nerdy guy in glasses and a briefcase shows up to tell McConaughey that, actually, he probably shouldn’t kill the guy. Got to have those dramatic stakes, after all. Things would be just be a little too simple if he kills a clearly evil guy that everyone seems to think should just be killed, after all.
Oh, and Diane Lane is there too, living her best life under the Mauritius sun in fun, tropical tops. Apparently, she’s McConaughey’s new girlfriend, but that’s not exactly conveyed in the trailer, especially as McConaughey and Hathaway are spotted in the throes of passion. That could be a flashback, but who knows?
Oh, right, and for less than a second, there’s also a CGI shark!
So, does Hathaway’s husband end up eaten by a shark? Well, in another scene he appears to have suffered another death, or at least has been rendered bloody and incapacitated. Either way, that doesn’t totally eliminate the option that he may eventually be eaten by a shark. We hope that after all this, someone gets eaten by a shark.
You can watch the new trailer here:
And, just for good measure, the first trailer here:
Serenity premiers in theaters on January 25th, 2019.