“Serenity” (Aviron)

Matthew McConaughey, Jason Clarke and Djimon Hounsou star in a scene from the movie "Serenity." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Aviron Pictures)

By Catholic News Service

Romantic thriller in which an emotionally scarred Iraq War vet (Matthew McConaughey) working as a fishing boat captain on a tropical island finds his isolated lifestyle interrupted when his ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) unexpectedly appears and offers to pay him millions to dispose of her alcoholic and abusive second spouse (Jason Clarke) by taking him out on an excursion and feeding him to the local sharks. Concerned for the welfare of his son (Rafael Sayegh), who lives with the new couple, but distracted by his Capt. Ahab-like obsession with catching an elusive giant tuna, he wavers over whether to accept, receiving sound moral guidance from his Catholic first mate (Djimon Hounsou).

Viewers’ artistic evaluation of writer-director Steven Knight’s film will largely depend on their reaction to a weird plot twist meant to upend expectations, though there can be no question that his dialogue is laughably bad at times. As for morality, the story moves through some very dicey portrayals of sexuality and relentless vulgar talk toward a conclusion wholly at variance with the weightiest scriptural norms.

Skewed values, strong sexual content, including graphic casual activity, rear and distant full nudity, a half-dozen uses of profanity, several mild oaths, pervasive rough and occasional crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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