Nearly five years after joining forces to explore outer space in INTERSTELLAR, Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey reunite for Steven Knight’s SERENITY. The thriller, in theatres on January 25, follows a fisherman, Baker Dill (McConaughey), whose life is turned upside down when his ex-wife, Karen (Hathaway), walks back into his life with an unusual proposal.
Karen wants Baker to kill her abusive husband (Jason Clarke) in exchange for $10 million. Baker accepts, but the situation isn’t as clear-cut as he first thought. Things spiral out of control pretty quickly, and Baker is dragged into a dark world of intrigue that throws his entire life into question. SERENITY promises twists and turns and a thrilling, sexy vibe.
Baker and Karen’s relationship is the crux of SERENITY. Relationships are always complicated, but these two take things to a whole new level. Not only do they reunite after years apart to plot the murder of Karen’s abusive husband, but they also rekindle their romance in the process. What makes Karen and Baker’s dynamic so fascinating is the inherent mistrust at the heart of it.
The film’s trailers hint at the possibility of Karen not being completely open with Baker regarding her marriage. There seems to be something else behind her desire to kill her husband. That could prove problematic for Baker, who seems largely unaware of Karen’s current life. It’s an unnerving relationship that heightens the movie’s noir elements and adds to the story’s already-suspenseful narrative.
Nothing Is What It Seems
SERENITY is filled with question marks. One of its biggest ones comes in the form of Plymouth Island, the place Baker chooses as his new home after his divorce. Once Karen steps back into his life, Baker starts to realize that there’s more to the seemingly peaceful Plymouth than meets the eye. The second trailer has this ominous line:
“[There’s] some weird stuff going on right now. This whole island is a part of it, but nobody knows it.”
SERENITY’s marketing constantly hints that the residents of Plymouth Island hide dark secrets. The film’s poster, for example, reads: “On Plymouth Island, no one ever dies … unless you break the rules.”
Given the secrecy surrounding SERENITY, it’s tough to tell exactly what that means. Is there something supernatural here? Or is the situation more prosaic and just tainted by the darkness inherent in the people? The mystery of Plymouth Island and its residents is one of the most alluring aspects of the film.
A Sea of Emotions
SERENITY’s world is messy. Plymouth Island is riddled with secrets. Steven Knight fosters the story’s enigmas to imbue the film with a powerful emotional component. SERENITY puts its characters through the wringer and sets them out to sea where they can’t get away from one another.
We know Karen’s story, and we understand why Baker might try to help her. Then, there’s Jason Clarke as Karen’s husband. Naturally, he doesn’t want to be killed, so he’s at least planting the idea that Baker is being manipulated. And we’ve seen the layers of double crosses in noir films before, so we’re already on guard for … something.
But then, it seems like the characters all go to sea together, which is sure to heat all of the simmering tensions to a full boil. No one can see what happens out on the water — if three people go out and only two come back, they’re the only ones who would know what really happened. But can whoever remains actually trust one another?
SERENITY comes to AMC® on January 25.