Serenity follows a down-and-out fisherman (Matthew McConaughey) as he lives on the outskirts of a tropical island attempting to catch an elusive tuna. When his ex-wife shows up looking for a deadly favor, his world quickly unravels.
This film attempts to drive its runtime off of its interesting plot, but the lack of significant events and its snail-crawl pacing truly tests the attention span of the viewer. Despite the plot's unique take, it does tackle familiar themes from similar movies (and to mention those movies by name would ruin this movie) and it struggles to bring new moral conundrums or philosophical concepts to the table.
The acting is robotic, with McConaughey, Djimon Hounsou, Anne Hathaway, Diane Lane, and Jason Clarke all giving decent to stale performances, with limited screentime for anyone not named Matt or Anne. They carry their lines well, though the script often feels like a poorly adapted screenplay from a book, despite being an original work that simply pulled a lot of its outer rim plot points from famous literary works like The Old Man and the Sea.
The symbolism is somewhere in between the heavy-handedness of The Matrix sequels and the absurdity of Donnie Darko. It makes for a frustrating blend of patronization and confusion that spends more time jading the viewer than engaging them.
But the true flaw is simply this...It's dull. Despite a couple of crazy twists and a few nice metaphors, the pacing is mind-meltingly slow. So much of the film is just Matthew brooding and going through mundane tasks that you aren't sure why Anne would bother to ask for help from someone with a complete lack of drive. The time spent talking about a potential murder eats up nearly the entire runtime, between moments of simple yet complex exposition and drawn out scenes that fail to instill a sense of drama or thoughtfulness.
I'd sooner watch director Steven Knight's single-set Locke 100 times than try to sit through this bland film again. At least I'd have the pleasure of Tom Hardy's company.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 4/10
Horror Quality: 1/10
Film Quality: 4/10