|When a film receives as much negative publicity prior to its theatrical release as has Swept Away, it is nearly impossible to form and unprejudiced opinion of the film, after having seen it. With so many negative comments from every quarter flying around, how can one see this film without believing it to be the worst film released in quite a while? But what viewers of this film should realize is that the film isn't that bad. It certainly won't win a single award, but it hovers much more near the mediocre than the horrid.|
In spots, it's actually entertaining. And when the strange screenplay isn't at its weirdest, the film almost approaches the status of a movie worth the price of a matinee ticket. Even the perpetually hated Madonna has her good moments, and if not for the weirder than fiction script, this movie might have been a true crowd pleaser. But the relationship between Madonna's snooty socialite character and Adriano Giannini's Italian fisherman character takes a turn for the violent once too often. Add to that indictment that neither of their characters are all that likeable in the long run.
While Giannini's character is quite amusing in the first third of the movie, he becomes more and more of a bad guy as the story progresses. And the audience will probably hate Madonna's character right of the bat, and continue to harbor some resentment until the closing credits. There seems to be too much misplaced acting talent in the film as the performances by Madonna and Giannini are very realistic, but are hampered by a story that doesn't always ring true for their characters. Regarding Madonna's talent, or the perceived lack thereof, her affected pseudo-English accent actually has a place in this film, as her character is an upper crust New York rich girl.
While the accent is nothing near the Detroit brawl she used for so many years in the 1980's, for once, her pretentious attempt to be more "English" paid off. It is probably lucky that Madonna chose this role to follow her disastrous film, The Next Big Thing, where her fake accent was more like the plague. In Swept Away, Madonna is usually covered in carat-heavy necklaces and bracelets, so the Anglicized version of Madonna was appropriate. Though it should be said that even though Madonna's accent did the trick for her character, viewers will not be as impressed with the beginning of the movie.
It is only when the action moves to the deserted island where Madonna and Giannini's characters will be stranded does the film become interesting. Though there is one particularly entertaining shot of a drunkenly staggering Jeanne Tripplehorn (who plays Madonna's socialite friend) as she makes her way along the deck of a boat. The interaction between the rich people who have hired a ship to take them across the Mediterranean is not nearly as entertaining as what occurs below decks, between the captain and the servants on the vessel.
But even though the beginning has its entertaining moments, the first third of the movie is when Madonna and Giannini are both at their worst, and it is only when they get stranded on the island that the movie becomes more realistic. But their characters still aren't the most endearing. Their relationship on the island goes from pure hatred for one another to absolute undying love (as you knew it would), but the progression between those two points is a strange journey. Giannini's character actually physically and mentally abuses Madonna's "Amber" until she falls in love with him. One moment he's slapping her across the face and the next, she's trying to crawl into bed with him.
Although the relationship becomes more sublime as their time on the island continues, it is still quite a strange courtship. But something that Madonna and Giannini should be congratulated on is the fact that both give very realistic performances. Giannini does not have a large resume under his belt and Madonna's had more than one feature film disaster. But both give the best performances that could be expected from the material that was given to them. Perhaps some of the blame should rest with director Guy Ritchie, as he wrote the adaptation. With this film, Ritchie certainly has a strange way of showing how much he loves his wife.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.