‘Serenity’ Can’t Rise Above the Surface

With an all-star cast that includes Matthew McConnaughey, Anne Hathaway and Diane Lane, it could be understandably assumed that Serenity would be a hit. Set on the strange island of Plymouth, McConnaughey plays the oddly named Baker Dill, a fisherman down on his luck, missing every opportunity to catch a tuna fish he decides to name Justice. Dill struggles to keep himself afloat with few employment opportunities available when his ex-wife and mother of his son, Karen, played by Hathaway, pays him a visit with a criminal proposal: kill her abusive husband for ten million dollars. Despite a cast full of Oscar winners and nominees, the Steven Knight-written and directed film disappoints tremendously.

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Colossal Review: Giant Monsters & Even More Monstrous Men Behind Them

Whether or not art should have a meaning outside of its style — an aim, to be exact, under a political or societal sense — has been a point of discussion among historians and critics since the early days of 19th century French slogan, “l’art pour l’art” and Friedrich Nietzsche’s counter argument to the said statement:

“…what does all art do? does it not praise? glorify? select? highlight? By doing all this it strengthens or weakens certain valuations….Art is the great stimulus to life: how could one understand it as purposeless, as aimless, as l’art pour l’art?

To this day, there’s no easy answer or explanation to the subject. Though it is true that in the wake of twenty-first century, a more socially consciousness type of filmmaking has emerged both behind and in front of the cameras, especially on matters such as racial diversity and gender equality; a clear definition of art’s responsibility to the real world and its issues is still nearly impossible to make. As it stands a matter of subjective understanding of beauty for the most part, even what art stands for other than its own contained aesthetic nature is debatable. Should it comment on minority issues? Is it for a film to carry the weight of historical accuracy on its shoulders? Is it even logical to think that a simple existence of two hours or four hundred pages can represent a sociopolitical ideology or its assessment to its appreciators?

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