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Sarah Morton is a famous British mystery author. Tired of London and seeking inspiration for her new novel, she accepts an offer from her publisher John Bosload to stay at his home in Luberon, in the South of France. It is the off-season, and Sarah finds that the beautiful country locale and unhurried pace is just the tonic for her--until late one night, when John's indolent and insouciant French daughter Julie unexpectedly arrives. Sarah's prim and steely English reserve is jarred by Julie's reckless, sexually charged lifestyle. Their interactions set off an increasingly unsettling series of events, as Sarah's creative process and a possible real-life murder begin to blend dangerously together.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Charlotte Rampling's character Sarah is named after her sister, who killed herself at age 23. She told The Guardian, "I thought that after such a very long time of not letting her be with me that I would like to bring her back into my life." See more »
She never presses the space bar while typing. See more »
Makers of erotic thrillers need to be careful, as that is a genre that, if not handled carefully, can quickly fall prey to silliness and excess (think "Fatal Attraction"). "Swimming Pool" is a thriller in the style of "The Deep End," and more than once I was struck by similarities between the two in their respective tones and reliance on water as a recurring visual motif. Also, both films have a middle-aged female as the protagonist who becomes involved in covering up for the actions of a child (in "The Deep End" a literal child, in "Swimming Pool" a figurative one). Also, both films are completely unpredictable. Neither goes the direction in which the viewer thinks it's going to. However, "Swimming Pool" is much more abstract, and its ending leaves you wanting to watch the whole thing over immediately with an entirely different perspective on the action. This gimmick always makes for a memorable ending in movies that employ it, but too often it makes the rest of the movie seem somewhat pale in comparison, and this is the case here. "Swimming Pool" plays tricks with your perceptions, but the finale to which the film builds seems somewhat anti-climactic when it finally comes.
It's a leisurely paced film, and you'll need to have patience with it. You'll also need to have patience with the main character, played by Charlotte Rampling. Rampling gives a fine performance, but her character is really unlikable (intentionally so), and it's always a liability for any story that focuses almost solely on one person to make that person unlikable, or at least sympathetic.
"Swimming Pool," though billed as an erotic thriller, is really about the creative process (I think), and I won't say anymore about that because to do so will give away the ending. It's an interesting idea, imperfectly executed.
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