Review: 'Under Paris'—A Riveting Shark Thriller Rivals 'Jaws'

Review: 'Under Paris'—A Riveting Shark Thriller Rivals 'Jaws'

Directed by the talented Xavier Gens, the Netflix film 'Under Paris' emerges as a triumphant entry in the shark movie genre. Many critics have compared it to Steven Spielberg's classic, 'Jaws,' and for good reason. This thrilling tale is both visually stunning and narratively engaging, captivating viewers from start to finish.

The storyline follows a giant predatory mako shark named Lilith. Unlike other sharks, Lilith has an intriguing backstory. She has mysteriously migrated from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the iconic Seine River in Paris. The movie builds on this unusual plot point, exploring environmental themes and human survival instincts.

The presence of this massive shark in Paris causes citywide panic, especially as it coincides with a high-stakes triathlon event. Adding to the intensity, we are introduced to Sophia, played by Bérénice Bejo, a scientist grappling with profound loss. Sophia's husband had been a victim of a previous shark attack, and her personal vendetta against these sea creatures adds a layer of emotional depth to the film.

Visual Mastery and Engaging Storytelling

Striking Cinematography and Color Palette

'Under Paris' takes full advantage of its setting, employing a color palette that enhances moods brilliantly. The use of shadow and light, combined with the claustrophobic underwater scenes, invokes a sense of dread and unease. Viewers will find themselves at the edge of their seats as each scene unfolds with unexpected tension.

The film's visuals have been described as 'terrifyingly beautiful.' Each frame is meticulously crafted, contributing to the overarching atmosphere of suspense. The synergy between the terrifying elements and the stunning Parisian backdrop creates a juxtaposition that is both eerie and compelling.

Powerful Performances

At the heart of 'Under Paris' is the multifaceted performance of Bérénice Bejo. Her portrayal of Sophia, a scientist with a traumatic past, is nuanced and heartfelt. She embodies the struggle between seeking revenge and pursuing scientific curiosity, a dichotomy that is central to the film's emotional impact.

Supporting performances also shine, with a cast that effectively brings out the film's thematic depth. Each character is well-developed, contributing to the narrative without overshadowing the core story of man versus nature.

A Balance of Elements

A Balance of Elements

Dramatic Yet Entertaining

One of the film's strengths is its ability to balance dramatic tension with entertainment value. It never strays too far into melodrama, maintaining a tone that is both serious and thrilling. The film respects its audience, avoiding the pitfalls of being overly comical or depressingly grave. Instead, it offers a gripping experience that keeps viewers engaged from beginning to end.

Gens masterfully blends environmentalism with personal drama, weaving a tale that feels timely and urgent. The script tackles issues such as pollution and marine conservation without being preachy. Instead, it subtly integrates these themes into the thrilling narrative, making them accessible to a wider audience.

Thrilling Set-Pieces

A defining feature of 'Under Paris' is its series of breathtaking set-pieces. From the shark's initial appearance to the climactic final confrontation, each scene is designed to evoke maximum suspense. The action sequences are well-executed, combining practical effects with CGI to create believable and heart-pounding moments. Notably, the underwater scenes are a testament to the filmmakers' dedication to realism, with the actors performing their roles with commendable authenticity.

Impact and Legacy

Impact and Legacy

A Worthy Successor to 'Jaws'

It is no small feat to be compared to 'Jaws,' a film that has set the benchmark for shark movies for decades. However, 'Under Paris' has earned such comparisons through its precisely crafted narrative and high production value. It redefines what a modern shark movie can be, moving away from the campy elements that have come to define the genre. Instead, it offers a serious yet entertaining take that resonates with contemporary audiences.

Fans of the genre will find much to admire in this film, from its intelligent script to its powerful performances. The suspense is palpable, the visuals are hauntingly beautiful, and the emotional core adds depth. 'Under Paris' is not merely a shark movie; it is a sophisticated blend of horror, drama, and action that sets a new standard for the genre.

In conclusion, 'Under Paris' is more than just a worthy successor to 'Jaws'; it is a stand-out film that will likely be remembered as one of the best shark movies ever made. For fans of thrilling cinema, it's an essential watch that promises to leave a lasting impression.