Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.
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Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) is a fishing boat captain leading tours off a tranquil, tropical enclave called Plymouth Island. His quiet life is shattered, however, when his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) tracks him down with a desperate plea for help. She begs Dill to save her - and their young son - from her new, violent husband (Jason Clarke) by taking him out to sea on a fishing excursion, only to throw him to the sharks and leave him for dead. Karen's appearance thrusts Dill back into a life he'd tried to forget, and as he struggles between right and wrong, his world is plunged into a new reality that may not be all that it seems.
The film strongly references some famous literary works, including Moby-Dick (the protagonist's Captain Ahab-like obsession), The Old Man and the Sea (the character's obsession to catch the one fish that got away), The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (the same symbolic bird always following the boat), and Shakespeare's The Tempest (the "we are such stuff as dreams are made on" quote). See more »
News anchor reported Baker Dill was awarded a Purple Heart for "gallantry"; a Purple Heart is awarded to those wounded or killed in action. See more »
[on a quiet still ocean]
Do you see that, captain?
Yeah. I see him. Alright, what do you think man? Do you think the beast is close? What do you say, Duke?
He's down there somewhere. Making up his damn mind.
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Greetings again from the darkness. A seamless zoom shot through a young boy's eye, a plunge into the deep blue sea, and up across the ocean onto a boat ... that's the very cool opening to writer-director Steven Knight's latest film. It can be described as a 1990's style noirish, murder-for-hire drama with a contemporary twist, and it features a terrific cast. Unfortunately, all of that somehow adds up to a film that never really clicks.
This is Mr. Knight's first time in the director's chair since the excellent LOCKE in 2013. He's best known for his writing in such projects as "Peaky Blinders", EASTERN PROMISES, and his Oscar nominated DIRTY PRETTY THINGS. A resume like that lends itself to certain expectations; something that makes the messiness of this one all the more surprising.
Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey stars as Baker Dill, a boat captain who runs a charter fishing business at the edge of the world - a sleepy little remote tropic village called Plymouth Island. We learn pretty quickly that Mr. Dill is a few pickles short of a jar. With customers aboard, he gets the hook in the unicorn he's been chasing - a giant tuna he's named Justice. It's a frantic obsession that the locals call the fish that lives in his head. On a boat named Serenity, Captain Dill's less appealing side is exposed as he and his first mate Duke (Djimon Hounsou) fail to reel in the mighty fish.
With the significant exception of his money woes, Dill leads a pretty calm and under the radar life on Plymouth Island. He drinks at the local bar, lives in a makeshift cliff side container by the sea, and enjoys periodic frolicking with Constance, a local beauty played by Diane Lane. We soon learn that Justice the Tuna is just the first of two things that rock the serenity of Dill's world. The other is his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) who magically appears one night next to the bar stool he is planted on. It turns out she has tracked him down for the sole purpose of paying Dill to kill her abusive and filthy rich and thoroughly obnoxious husband Frank (Jason Clarke). It's also during this time that Dill is being chased down by Reid Miller, a nerdy and suspicious little salesman played by Jeremy Strong.
Karen's plot would stand no chance if not for the son they share. Patrick (Rafael Sayegh) is an odd kid whom we only see writing code at lightning speed from his home computer. It's the Reid Miller character who clues us in on the twist; but rather than shift the movie into a higher gear, it feels like the air goes shooting out of the proverbial balloon. As shaky as the film, characters, and dialogue were, this twist turns it into a convoluted mess that changes everything we have watched to this point.
Murder for hire/love films have been done many times and in many ways. Some of the best include Hitchcock's classic STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, Billy Wilder's film noir masterpiece DOUBLE INDEMNITY, and Lawrence Kasdan's steamy BODY HEAT from 1981. This film should never again be mentioned with those. Although the premise is interesting, this terrific cast certainly deserved better material. Filmed on Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, the little scenery we see are the film's highlights. Apparently all that Mr. Knight wishes to tell us is that life is a game ... and it might not end well. Not exactly breaking news.
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