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It's another Madonna film: does anyone really need to know
The only thing worse than Madonna trying to be funny is Madonna trying to be serious.
The only thing worse than being trapped on a desert island with Madonna is being trapped on a desert island with Madonna and a film crew.
In 2002, the only thing worse than Madonna in SWEPT AWAY was Robin Williams in DEATH TO SMOOCHY.
The only thing worse than watching Madonna in any movie is trying to come up with new ways of saying she can't act.
I really wanted to like this movie because the critics have been unkind
to it (to say the least)... but it was terrible. Really terrible. Badly
acted, a witless script, cack handed direction... Watching this film was
like watching a car crash- you want to look away but you keep staring
because you want to see how messy it's going to get. Well, the car is
wrecked and there are no survivors. On the plus side, the cinematography
was nice, made me want to go on holiday, if only to cleanse myself from
I almost saw this at an actual movie theatre (an art-house theatre, no less!) but couldn't make it there in the one whole week it played, but yesterday I finally saw it on cable and...well...I wasn't disappointed, that's for sure! Madonna has done it again: YET ANOTHER BOMB! When will this woman learn? When will the studios learn? (Or perhaps they already have, since this film was largely dumped, with little fanfare and deadly word-of-mouth.) One would hope that being directed by her talented husband, who's created some interesting and/or terribly entertaining work, would bring out the same quality Madonna showed in "Desperately Seeking Susan"; alas, it just isn't meant to be, for here she is, at her very worst: singularly convinced of her own greatness, the smugness permeating every frame she's in, made all the more unbearable by her wavering faux-British accent, an accent that only underscores the fact that her speaking voice is immature in quality and not especially pleasant. This may sound unnecessarily cruel but LISTEN to the woman, and LOOK at her films of, say, the past decade: like a latter-day Bette Davis, there is an unmistakable brittleness to not only her carriage but to her very face and body, which here, despite the warm photography displayed throughout the film (perhaps its only saving grace), are done no favors. To her credit, the entire affair is so misbegotten that one wonders if the world's greatest actress on her best day could do anything with this mess. No one involved escapes unharmed: Bruce Greenwood actually seems pained to be on-screen, though poor Jeanne Tripplehorn seems to carry herself as if she's actually in something good, which had me thinking all the while, "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt!" Adriano Giannini, son of Giancarlo Giannini, star of the Italian original, "Swept Away...", is, like his father before him, immensely attractive, and isn't altogether bad (despite winning a Razzie nomination for "Worst Actor"), but, like almost everything else about this production, it all comes back to Madonna, on whose shoulders rest the blame. Why her? Why not her husband, director Guy Ritchie? Just who do YOU think was behind this remake? What actress wouldn't want nearly every shot of a movie to be centered on her, with only a relative nobody sharing the screen? Oh sure, Ritchie deserves some blame: surely he - or someone - ANYONE! - should have, and could have, taken his lead aside and insisted on something bordering on ACTUAL FEELING in her line readings (for her performance is so wooden it's a surprise the rest of the cast didn't get splinters), or at least display a semblance of warmth...but she seems resistant to be anything but a cinematic black hole. Above and beyond anything else, this is strictly a vanity project for its star so she is ultimately accountable for it. A film like this, an "Odd Couple"-ish, war of the classes, should be light and fun, with leads who can bounce off one another with witty, even romantic, dialogue, for what else can a film whose plot involves two disparate people stranded, really be? Honestly, I don't think anyone involved knew exactly the tone they were trying for; it succeeds neither as comedy (I defy you to laugh even once) or romance (Madonna's ice-princess routine precludes ANY chemistry). It's not even bad enough for us bad-movie lovers to enjoy. A real shame...
This was visually a very pretty movie. The color of the ocean was so BLUE and the white sand beaches were so PRISTINE. The cinematography and tableaus created were so BREATHTAKING that the only pleasure one can derive fom this mess is an appreciation of the beaches in Sardinia. But all of that does not make up for a lack of plot or mischaracterizations of the protagonists. Madonna, who gets marooned on an island with a macho Italian steortypical guy reminded me of a petulant teenager. She related to her husband and Italain macho guy as a naughty teen would. No real depth of anything. The "funny" scenes were merely embarrassing. How could Guy Ritchie make something this bad? It doesn't make any sense after seeing Snatch and Lock, Stock. IT IS STOMACH CHURNING AWFUL people! I felt queasy with the slow motion fake-tears-chasing and the accompanying vertiginous piano: ping! ping! ping! This film was a romp on the beach with adults acting acting like thirteen year old dominant/submissives. (Madonna kissing macho's foot after she submits to him - bleh.)Most of the island scenes between these two adults were filmed like a home movie with the light shining on a worn out looking Madonna: "Look at me! See how buff and pretty I am! I can do push ups and dancie dance, and see how big my biceps are?" Oh my God. This was bad. Madonna doesn't act, she just plays herself. Just because she can cry on cue doesn't mean she is an actress.
and forget this. Completely. If you really need to see Madonna act,
rent "Body of Evidence", at least Willem Defoe is in that one.
In this film, while the sets are beautiful, you may want to mute the dialog. You won't miss anything. Bruce Greenwood is wasted, Jeanne Tripplehorn is a prop, and Madonna is so awful, it becomes amusing. Why they had to butcher the original film into this mess, I will never know; guess they thought it was "bankable". Madonna, as an actress, certainly is NOT.
If you rent the original film from 1979, though, you will enjoy it, and the actors in it can actually act. 1/10.
No doubt, when Madonna and Guy Ritchie married, it was because they both thought it would help their movie careers. If you've been through the ordeal of watching "Swept Away," then you know at that level it was a match made in hell. After nearly 20 years of trying to become a respected actress (or "octress" as she might have pronounced it in "The Next Best Thing"), she still can't get out of herself long enough to turn in a performance that anyone with taste could even call decent. And that's the thing that makes people dislike her so much on the screen: that gut feeling that her ego is so inflated that it prevents her from being able to just let go and connect with her audience. If there's any justice in this universe, she just blew her last chance.
I had the (mis)fortune to see this film at a showing in the US. Having
reluctantly sat through the entire abysmal thing, I am shocked to have seen
so many good reviews here on IMDB.
The original film was a turkey, but an interesting one. It fitted into that early seventies, post 1969 revolution thing; this film just stinks of....... , well, nothing really. It's that bad.
Imagine a badly done perfume commercial - see what I mean ?
Madonna never could act, and has been an embarrassment on the big screen for years. She looks worse and worse with every one of those years, increasingly coming to resemble a skinned meerkat.
Guy Ritchie, who has built his "reputation" on Lock Stock, could never direct either - his movies are shallow, badly cut, fashion shows. He doesn't disappoint here either; he wisely cast his wife as the star of this debacle.
Please people, take little heed of the good reviews this movie has received from other posters below. They are quite obviously business plants.
Don't encourage Ritchie to humiliate himself further by giving him money.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
For years Madonna has tried to prove not only herself, but the public
eye, that she can act. Unfortunately, trying too hard while failing to
shed her own persona doesn't mix well.
She seems to fare better when she's NOT the star of any movie: if you watch her in supporting performances in DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN (1985) or A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992), she actually comes off looking good. Since the story revolves on other actors, the weight of the expectation is taken off her shoulders by default.
The trouble starts when she is asked to be the star of a movie, regardless the genre. Being the focus of a plot that needs to be told in a visual way, whether it be good, mediocre or plain awful, she has to emote in ways that are akin to an actual movie performance as opposed to a video performance. This is the crucial difference between Madonna and, let's say, Bette Davis, or Meryl Streep. The latter two, even if the movie were to fail (because the visual storytelling lacked some effectiveness in having us relate to it, or because the script fell short, or because the actress per se was just not at her moment), there would be an extra something in their performances that would elevate the movie from being a complete bomb. Both Davis and Streep have had their share: Bette, having a longer career than Streep, in such fare as BUNNY O'HARE (1971) and WICKED STEPMOTHER (1989); Streep in SHE-DEVIL (1989). But at least there's been that naturalism in the way both attacked their roles that made us forget the banality of the movie and watch the performance.
Madonna, on the other hand, not being an especially gifted actress capable of really letting us in on her ability to convey a persona other than herself, fares much worse, and even in the hands of someone as Woody Allen in SHADOWS AND FOG (1992), an inferior classic, she in her pat screen time seems stilted and a little stiff, maybe even nervous, as if she were aware of the cameras and crew and just couldn't let go.
So here she tries yet once again to prove she can act in what is essentially a two-character movie. Guy Ritchie, more known for action movies filled in masculine energy, seems as adrift telling a story closer to someone of the likes of Michaelangelo Antonioni or Ingmar Bergman, who could tell a tale of two people with incredible ease. And at 89 minutes, the events which take place happen in such an unconvincing way that when the final half hour comes along and the story takes a dramatic turn, it doesn't feel sincere. From being an absolute witch with no redeeming values to suddenly being in love, this has to be the most unconvincing 180 degree turn since Fay Dunaway's Laura suddenly discovered her passion for Tommy Lee Jones in THE EYES OF LAURA MARS (1978). Equally unconvincing is Adriano Giannini's nasty turn around the middle of the movie -- it lacks any humor and feels genuinely psychopathic -- and when he gives in to Madonna's love, it's too quick to be believed. Filming this in slow music and a visual montage of lovemaking and beautiful scenery doesn't enhance or add upon this "transformation" from what would have been a story of survival between to unlikeable characters to a love story where both discover each other.
Trying to have an unsatisfying ending works against the movie as well -- it only makes it drag, bog it down, and when Madonna has to be filmed going from hope to devastation in a tight close-up, it feels she's trying too hard. Many an actress have done better in conveying so much doing so little. Hers is a performance more suited to acting styles of the late 20s, early 30s where posturing compensated as acting a part or an emotion.
Could the movie have been better? Of course. There are a myriad of ways to have filmed it in a way that would leave the viewer feeling that these people could at least hope to see each other again -- it's been done before, in OVERBOARD (1987), for example. It could have had an existential undertone in which two very different people have to rely on each other but not necessarily change (to ensure a moral tone). Much dialog and unnecessary erotic scenes could have been spared for a more "silent" film look -- as in PERSONA (1966). It could have even been something of a thriller, providing that the Giannini character have a mean streak as Billy Zane had in DEAD CALM (1989). Even if it would have been done as a sex farce it would have worked better for Madonna as the over the top, uber-control freak getting her comeuppance. But with its mean streaked humor, without at least a glimpse of her character having a softer side that hides behind a mask of bitchdom, and without really defining Giannini's own character, this becomes another misfire trying to look like a battle of the sexes.
The critics were spineless in their analysis of this movie. Typically,
critics posture as examples of open-mindedness, but quickly turn
hypocritical when a story takes a view contrary to their own brand of
en-vogue political correctness.
The media is perfectly willing to jump up and applaud dramatic material exploring social taboos ranging from child sex to four thousand different types of murder, but when it comes to exploring the raw and uninhibited relationship between a man and woman on a desert island, and the primal gender characteristics that evolve the relationship, they get scared and run for cover - because it does not promote their ever-chi chi uni-sexist agenda.
While not the best made film of 2002, this movie was actually an interesting story with a powerful statement about society, love and relationships, and on its own, takes a radical and even liberal look at these critical elements of our everyday lives.
In their run for cover, aside from directly and personally picking on Madonna and `her husband,' the socio-politically driven critics tended to haphazardly pick at various elements of the movie such as:
The film appears washed out - in my analysis, with this, the director found he could evoke a mood in the audience utilizing this effect. The white wash look imposed a hot, desert like feel which created a dry distaste of the lives the aristocrats were living. It sets up an underlying melodramatic tone that exudes in Madonna's character and reflects the harshness of her current life. Utilizing non-standard film traits is consistent stylistically with other Guy Ritchie films.
Madonna is too melodramatic - once again, intentional flavoring that adds contrast as her character arcs throughout the film. It also sets up the humor we find in her drastic transformation. It is only because she was a `super bitch' before that we can at first enjoy when the tables are turned. Our enjoyment, of course, quickly turns to concern when we feel that Giuseppe goes too far by our standards.
Unintentional humor - perhaps the audience is laughing at the very right time, yet the intently politically correct critic is simply offended that the audience finds these moments funny.
The plot is improbable - welcome to movie land. The majority of plots and stories in general are improbable.
About half the critical reviews I read admitted the reviewer's real problem with the movie and positioned the subject matter as dated, antediluvian, archaic, etc. This reflects their own fear that the movie might allude to some uncomfortable truths about human nature.
Swept Away simply, but brilliantly breaks two people down into their primal roles as a man and a woman. In the film, absent the rules of a structured society, the physically dominant man assumes a role as the hunter gatherer and uses/abuses this dominance to subordinate the female character that once tormented him. The woman, Amber, who had found her previous plastic life to be unsatisfying, falls dependant on Giuseppe and uncovers a deeper meaning to her existence in the form of an animalistic carnal attraction that surfaces and drives her to a passionate relationship with him. The movie, unfitting with modern social mores, suggests that innate gender biased traits can form the basis for truly passionate and meaningful love.
If we expound on this, the message is that men and women are inherently different and naturally gravitate to different roles in a relationship and that society, at least in some instances, can interfere with these deep rooted urges.
It is a gritty, believable, yet a bit uncomfortable suggestion that perhaps gender roles do offer some reward in society. It was enjoyable to watch, humorous at times and a little painful at others. I give the director the benefit of the doubt and can assume that I was guided well through the story.
The movie is far from perfect in that we don't particularly empathize greatly with any of the main characters, at least until the final few scenes of the movie, though I am not sure we are supposed to. Much of the dialog was not properly updated from the 70s to the 00s - the discussion about `chemicals' for example. Also, there are some embarrassingly poorly made scenes - such as when Amber and Giuseppe are supposed to be zipping along in a speed boat and there is not such as a hair moving on their heads, and every scene where the Mediterranean looks about as wavy as a backyard pool
One thing is for sure - the subject matter is surprisingly thought and discussion provoking and the movie is better than 98% of the other new release rentals out there. Rent it and talk about it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*May contain spoilers*
I bent over backwards to be fair to this film. I knew it starred Madonna. I knew it lasted a whole week in theaters. I knew it got a lot of bad reviews. I wasn't expecting a deep and thoughtful examination of class, culture and sexuality like we got in the Italian original. The benefit of the doubt lasted a whole ten minutes.
Madonna plays a rich, pretentious, nit-witted Gorgon who goes on vacation with her henpecked husband and flippant friends (the brunette woman is as bad as Madonna, exhibiting some really dumb facial expressions). Adriano Giannini plays the ship's first-mate who the Madonna character delights in humiliating and treating like dirt in every scene they have together. Why is she such a bitch to him? Simply because the plot requires it so that later when the two of them get marooned on a deserted Mediterranean island the tables will be turned and he will teach her a lesson. Just as inexplicable is how they fall in love despite having nothing in common and having abused each other for two-thirds of the movie.
"Swept Away" is a silly, simplistic, superficial movie from beginning to end. Madonna gives a typically wooden performance. There are many dumb scenes: Madonna singing and dancing atrociously at the demand of Giannini, a fantasy scene with Madonna and a lot of scenes where he slaps her and kicks her in the butt. Guy Ritchie does his "stylish" editing which is laughable here. The film contains some of the worst dialog I've heard in a major movie in several years. The ending is sappy and implausible. It's basically "The Blue Lagoon" meets "Overboard" minus the nudity of the former and the sense of humor of the latter.
Maybe Madonna's ego is so big that she insists on continuing to prove herself as a competent actress. Please give it up, Madge, for our sake as well as yours. This isn't her worst movie though. That distinction still belongs to "Shanghai Surprise". She hasn't made anything worse than that...yet.
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