Serenity (2019) Meaning of Description & Explanation of the Ending, What This Movie Is About?
What really happened in the movie Serenity: analysis of the plot
Country: USA, UK
Genre: Thriller, Drama, Fantasy
Year of production: 2019
Director: Stephen Knight
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Diane Lane, Djimon Hounsou, Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong
tagline: “No one dies on Plymouth Island…as long as you don’t break the rules”
Awards and nominations: nominations for the Golden Raspberry anti-award for the worst male (Matthew McConaughey) and the worst female (Anne Hathaway) roles.
The meaning of the film Serenity, it seems, does not pretend to great depth, although initially everything is conducive to this. The viewer is thrown riddles and strange hints in order to eventually provide an explanation – rather banal for those who are familiar with modern fiction.
What is the movie about
Let’s analyze the content of the film Serenity.
At the beginning of the picture, we see the eyes of a teenager. They have the sea. A yacht is rocking on the waves, which is called Serenity. Its captain, Baker Dill, earns a living by giving visiting tourists the opportunity to hunt big fish. However, if he feels that his cherished dream, a big tuna, is on the hook, then he takes the bait into his own hands, despite the objections of the clients. So it happened this time, but, as always, the fish broke. On the shore, a strange man in glasses and with a briefcase, dressed in a business suit, is watching the yacht.
Matthew McConaughey played the role of Baker Dill. Frame from the film.
To catch the coveted tuna, Baker ponders the idea of hiring the son of his mistress Constance instead of his partner Duke. It seems that he brings good luck – maybe thanks to him, the desired fish will not fall off the hook.
Baker goes to a bar where everyone already knows about the incident on the yacht. Jack the bartender suggests giving the elusive tuna a name. The hero replies that the name already exists – Justice (that is, Justice, or Justice).
In the evening, Baker comes to Duke at the church (it seems that he is a priest), gives him an advance – tuna hunting is again scheduled for tomorrow. At home, the hero apologizes to his son, who is now somewhere far away, for not catching a fish, and expresses the hope that he will definitely catch it. We see memories where father and son, still a child, communicate and fish together. Immediately we are shown an already matured boy – a teenager. He holds in his hands a photograph from that same fishing trip.
Fishing for tuna with Duke is not a task – only a trifle from the prey. Baker is angry with his partner for this and blames him for bringing bad luck.
The ex-wife of the hero Karen suddenly appears on the island. She is married to a wealthy mobster named Frank. He constantly beats her up. And her son Patrick hides with Baker (whose real name is John) and escapes to a certain world of virtual reality, which he creates himself with the help of programming. Karen offers her ex-husband money to kill Frank. Death should look like an accident while fishing for tuna on a yacht. Baker refuses.
The hero is swimming in the sea – we are watching him from different angles, as if in a computer game. From somewhere, a teenager’s request sounds: “Dad, I want you to do something.” Under water, we see him. Scolding is heard, and the hero wakes up. But it didn’t seem like it was a dream: there was water on his table, just like there was on the table in the teenager’s apartment.
Fishing tackle saleswoman Lois told Baker that Frank had arrived in town. At the hotel they heard him hitting Karen.
The role of Karen was played by Anne Hathaway. Frame from the film.
Frank tries to negotiate with Baker about fishing on a yacht, but he refuses. A man in a business suit following the hero notices with alarm that the fisherman has sailed from the pier twenty seconds earlier than he expected. From the business card he left with Lois, we know that this is a representative of the tackle company and his name is Reed Miller.
Those around him begin to hint to Baker that the tuna he is hunting for exists only in his head, and the fisherman has a choice – to save his ex-wife or catch the tuna.
Duke persuades the hero to go to sea with Frank for a large reward. Baker agrees, saying that a partner will help him overcome the temptation. Karen reminds her ex-husband of her request and says that her son can hear him through the computer screen.
Out to sea with Duke and Frank, Baker sees a Frigate bird in the sky. He notices that he saw her and over the island. The partner objects: these birds fly only over the sea.
Duke tells Frank that the bar on the island used to be called Hope and Anchor. Then the name changed to “Hope and Rope” as a symbol of the fact that Plymouth is a dead place, and it’s time to hang yourself here. Frank talks about his stepson: he does not communicate with his stepfather at all, he is considered a mathematical genius, he always sits at the computer, on the screen of which someone is fishing. When asked what the meaning of this activity was, the boy somehow replied: “If I didn’t fish, I would kill you.” Frank changes the topic of conversation, trying to find out where on the island you can use the services of underage prostitutes.
The men return after catching a shark. Frank is going to sea again the next day. Karen continues to persuade Baker to kill the villain, adding that this is what their son wants – he wants justice. Duke guesses everything and asks his friend to follow the rule – to continue to fish in his head and not kill anyone.
Diane Lane as Constance. Frame from the film.
Karen secretly meets with Baker and eventually talks him into committing Frank’s murder. When the ex-wife leaves, the hero promises that he will accomplish his plan so that Patrick finally leaves his room.
Reed Miller comes to Baker’s house at night and offers him his company’s product – a search echo sounder. The seller promises that the device will work, and utters a strange phrase: “I am the rule.” Reed also asks not to commit murder. Pressing the seller against the wall, Baker tries to find out what is the meaning of all that has been said. Reed replies that everything around is a game and he is only playing his part in it. We are again shown the creator – a teenager writing program code. Reed says that one of the games within the big game on Plymouth Island is tuna fishing. And until now, it has been the creator’s favorite entertainment and at the same time an obsession. But the obsession passes and the meaning of the new game is to kill a person. Reed worries that the creator has changed the rules so drastically.
In the morning, Baker wakes up, but despite all his efforts, he cannot get up before the alarm goes off. A little later, remembering Reed’s words, he opens the world map. It turns out that there is nothing on it except Plymouth Island. The words of the radio announcer are heard that neural networks will soon replace many functions of the human brain.
Standing alone in the middle of the road, Baker is talking to his son. He reveals that he doesn’t remember much about his past life. The hero suggests that his obsession with tuna is related to the fishing he was on with little Patrick. Then nothing could be caught and Baker was angry because of this. The hero also talks about images that come to mind: war, he lies dead on the sand.
Suddenly, Samson appears, the son of Constance’s mistress, who was supposed to bring good luck when fishing for tuna. But this time, Baker does not want to take him with him, because he planned the murder and he does not need witnesses.
There are more and more oddities: Baker notices that he cannot get the car to go until the traffic light turns green.
Lois gives Baker tuna bait from Reed Miller and advises him to make the right choice – to catch tuna. Questions about where they really are, the woman ignores. Baker tries to ask Jack the bartender the same thing. He answers in vague terms and reminds of the importance of rules and the need to catch tuna.
Patrick sits in the room, hears the screams of his parents and takes out a knife.
Jason Clarke played the role of Frank. Frame from the film.
Duke hires a familiar worker to injure Frank. Realizing that the fishing probably won’t take place, Baker leaves the yacht and wanders aimlessly around the island. A message is heard on the radio: “Come back, you need to catch your fish!”.
On the shore, Baker meets Reed. They again talk about the game and its creator – a teenager who dreams that someone would kill his stepfather, who constantly beats his mother. Baker declares that he does not care about the reality or unreality of what is happening – he must kill Frank and this will be justice. Reed states that he is now on Baker’s side. At the same time, the seller now and then disappears from view.
Karen persuaded Frank to go fishing despite being injured. The cat, whom Baker kept catching to give to Constance, comes to the pier, as if urging the hero to refuse to go to sea. Duke prays for Baker, saying that he is a good man, but his mind is clouded by temptation.
After going out to sea, it turns out that Samson entered the yacht. The frigate also soars in the sky – everything is conducive to successful fishing. The tuna is biting. At the same time, a teenager Patrick in his room takes out a suitcase with fishing tackle and a knife. Baker passes the fishing rod to Frank. The teenager leaves the room with a knife. The fish pulls the line, and the wounded and drunk Frank is carried to the seabed. The teenager returns with a knife to the room. There is a radio message that he was arrested for the murder of his stepfather, construction worker Frank Zariakas (that is the name of the drowned mafia). The message also says that Patrick is a computer genius immersed in a world he created, and his father died in the Iraq war.
The hero says goodbye to Karen and she disappears. Patrick is released and contacts Baker via a pay phone. The teenager calls the fisherman his father and says that he did a terrible thing. Baker consoles him.
In the finale, Patrick changes the game to meet his “father” – and indeed, everything around changes. The teenager runs towards Baker along the pier, they hug and laugh.
Serenity Ending explanation
The authors incline the viewer to a correct understanding of the meaning of the ending of the film Serenity almost from the very beginning. Already in the middle of the picture, hints that everything is happening in some kind of virtual reality are given very often. For those who, along the way, tried to come up with versions with an alternative description of events, the director gives a closed ending with a clear clue: yes, everything happened in a computer simulation created by Patrick. However, apparently, this world was made not only with the help of neural networks generated by cunning computer code. The fact that Patrick was able to communicate directly and even met with Baker says that the teenager’s imagination and his power of thought played a big role.
This explanation of the ending makes it possible to understand many of the oddities shown in The Sea of Seduction. For example, it becomes clear why the news on the island becomes known to everyone at once, or why the characters behave a little stereotyped. After all, a somewhat clumsy acting game, for which the performers of the roles of Baker and Karen even received a nomination for the Golden Raspberry anti-award, was needed for the plot and its correct interpretation during analysis.
The meaning of the film Serenity
It is unlikely that the director of Serenity was going to surprise anyone with the final plot twist. The essence of the film, of course, is not that everyone ended up in virtual reality. To understand the hidden meaning of “Sea of Seduction” it is worth considering the motivation of the creator of this world – Patrick.
So, the teenager lived in a dysfunctional family, constantly watching his stepfather beat his mother, and trying his best not to see it. So he plunged into programming and created a world where his father, who died in the war in Iraq, is alive. Patrick’s real father was in the military, but in the simulation, a teenager made him a fisherman, as fishing was his most vivid memory. In the created world, one could not only be in the place of the courageous Baker, but also enjoy other delights of life on the island.
Djimon Hounsou starred as Duke. Frame from the film.
Over time, Patrick’s real life got worse. This also affected the inhabitants of Plemont: even the name of the bar was changed as a sign of the unbearability of such an existence – instead of a symbol of hope, an anchor is a rope, or a rope on which you can hang yourself. The teenager began to dream more and more about justice – so that his stepfather Frank would get what he deserved. In the simulation, this dream was realized in tuna. Baker called it that – Justice. As an accompanying symbol of the elusiveness of this dream is the Frigate bird flying somewhere nearby.
As Patrick’s situation worsened, he began to struggle more and more with the desire to kill his stepfather and spilled his reflection into the created simulation game. In it, on the one hand, as in life, there was an unshakable rule “do not kill”, on the other hand, there was a great temptation to break it. All the inhabitants of the island, one way or another, constantly hinted at this choice, but they themselves were supporters of Baker simply continuing to “fish in his head” (the main voice of conscience was the hero’s partner and part-time priest Duke).
The problem is that such a “catch” did not change the state of affairs in Patrick’s family in any way – it was necessary to act. The teenager was tormented by the choice – the same experienced and Baker. In the simulation, Patrick, in order to show the true face of his stepfather, made Frank distraught from the wealth of the mafia and even a pedophile, although in reality he was just a factory worker and probably an alcoholic.
As a result, Baker made the difficult decision to kill (note that this happened on board the Clarity yacht) – and Patrick did it after him. The rules of the game in the person of Reed Miller adapted to this choice. Justice has been done – in the simulation, it literally literally took Frank away. Probably, in reality, some other fortunate combination of circumstances also played a role – it was not for nothing that lucky Samson was present on board the yacht in the virtual world. Such is the symbolism in the denouement of The Sea of Seduction.
It is in him and in the constant projection of Patrick’s thoughts and feelings on Frank’s actions that the director’s idea lies. About some kind of morality (except for the banal idea that violence is bad), which needs to be conveyed to the viewer, we are probably not talking: everyone decides for himself whether to consider the actions of the characters correct or, conversely, to condemn.
Frame from the film.
- The Truman Show (USA, 1998): cult philosophical tragicomedy with Jim Carrey about an insurance agent who discovers that his whole life is part of a reality show;
- “Nirvana” (Italy, France, 1997): the creator of a computer game decides to destroy his offspring;
- “Dark City” (Australia, USA, 1998): another cult fantasy thriller;
- “Ink” (USA, 2009): a touching mystical thriller about the reunion of a father and daughter;
- “Protagonist” (USA, Canada, 2021): a minor character in a computer game decides to change it for the sake of love.