We could use a fiction film about sharks that’s better, more consequential really, than Jaws. Despite its preposterousness, The Shallows (2016) is it.
Following some Blue Crush pop crud, Blake Lively escapes a shark by climbing onto the back of a dead whale, but is soon perched on an islet destined to be covered by the tide. Nancy, Blake’s character, is competent and aware she has to be brave—why, she’s even brave enough to try to eat a tiny dead crab (which she perforce spits out)—but she’s bleeding from a shark-created gash in her leg and the odious big fish is still swimming around. . . The Shallows is a good feat of directing and editing (by Jaume Collet-Serra and Joel Negron, respectively); and, granted, there is CGI but “the vistas . . . are staggering” (Glenn Kenny). Ocean shots are even more beautiful than Lively’s smile. As for Blake’s acting, she does a lot of yelling and, carrying the film, is spot-on.