A young Hollywood executive becomes the assistant to a big time movie producer who is the worst boss imaginable: abusive, abrasive and cruel. But soon things turn around when the young executive kidnaps his boss and visits all the cruelties back on him.Written by
Jason Ihle <email@example.com>
From Sunset Boulevard (1950) through to The Player (1992), the dark side of Hollywood has given up juicy material for filmmakers looking to bite the hand that feeds. Not that there is any secret to be revealed here - pretty much everything you need to know about the soulless, spirit-crushing side of movie-making is contained in Raymond Chnadler's 1945 essay "Writer's in Hollywood", which contains more horror than any of the celluloid parodies it has since inspired.
Swimming with Sharks is the tale of innocent Guy (a freshly scrubbed Frank Whaley), whose monster boss is tinsel town king-maker Buddy Ackerman, a screaming, mood-shifting bully who dangles just enough opportunity before Guy to keep him on his leash. But payback is due, and comes in spades.
It is all very dark and delicious, and Spacey gets to rip loose as the psycho boss, the joke being that it is his very lack of sanity and compassion that allows him to thrive in the business. Love interest is supplied by producer Dawn (Michelle Forbes), who allows Guy to stay grounded as he negotiates his way to the top. Dawn and Guy show us that even in Hollywood true love can conquer all - or can it? It is received wisdom that movies about movies don't travel very well. Swimming with Sharks is about delusion and corruption, and how much the human spirit can take. It just happens to be set in Hollywood, but Buddy Ackerman could be Gordon Gecko in a different market. Worth watching to see Spacey enjoying himself in a role where he gets to say pretty much whatever he likes, and does so with relish.
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