Firstly, manifold grovelling apologies for a long period of Radio Silence. We could give all manner of excuses – “Nicolas Winding Refn ate our homework”… “We got accidentally blown up on a movie set underneath NYC’s Washington Bridge” (almost true – whilst recently in NYC The Sloth did chance upon a movie set blowing things up underneath Washington Bridge, yet survived to tell the tale). But frankly, we just haven’t seen anything that inspired us to put fingers to keyboard. Till The Shallows.
Blake Lively, probably best known for being a fashion bunny / sometime actress / Mrs Ryan Reynolds, plays a gnarly surfer chick on a pilgrimage to a secret, hidden beach surfed by her dead mother in her youth. After a bumpy ride through the jungle she arrives, alone, in a beachy paradise, her bessie mate having stood her up due to a monster hangover. This is IMPORTANT because it means Blake is ALONE. After a few texts (From a secret hidden beach? Seriously? The Sloth can’t get reception in Ealing Broadway Tesco) she hits the surf. And wow, does it look good. You can’t fault the really quite beautiful cinematography.
Waving goodbye to the only two other surfers, Blake heads further out to catch ‘one last wave’. Kids, don’t ever do that. Cue one monstrous and very hungry shark who decides a Blake Sandwich would be just the ticket for his tea. Her leg badly bitten and her board smashed in half, Blake hauls herself onto a tiny, rocky outcrop far from land. Can she make it back to shore without being eaten?
The Shallows is that simple. Blake Lively. On a rock. Circled by an angry shark. For 87 minutes.
We know what you’re thinking: “shrapnel from the Washington Bridge explosion has clearly lodged in The Sloths’ frontal lobe, for their can be no other reason for recommending such utter twaddle”. But no, we are of fully sound mind for The Shallows is a cracking piece of popcorn film making. Taut, tense and not a minute over long, it is in no way cerebral but it doesn’t half entertain in a way Hollywood’s lengthy, drearily pretentious superhero movies simply do not – we’d take Blake V Shark over Batman V Superman any day.
UK release 12 August