ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  dominic sena

RATED  -  r

GENRE  -  biography

LENGTH  -  99 minutes

RELEASED  -  8 june 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  swordfish

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $80,000,000
swordfish - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from swordfish at

buy the dvd from swordfish at

the world's most dangerous spy is hired by the cia to coerce a computer hacker recently released from prison to help steal billions in unused government funds.

hugh jackman had to take stunt driving classes to prepare for his role in swordfish.


picture from swordfish

picture from swordfish

picture from swordfish


three out of four possible stars

After seeing John Travolta act his way through a series of just plain weird flicks (don't believe me? jus t see Lucky Numbers and Battlefield Earth), his performance in Swordfish is not necessarily a departure from his other characters, but it fits the story well. As did most of the characters in this film. It was very well cast. the actors work well off of one another for several reasons. First of all, they all have very different personalities and problems.

Everyone in this film has something to hide and each character gets a good amount of screen time to explain to the audience about their character's woes. I suppose you have to thank the director for that, but given the high octane feel of this film, none of the characters were overwhelmed by the special effects or action sequences. Travolta plays "Gabriel Shear," a man connected to the cia who lives on the edge of society in the fast world of underground clubs and computer hackers in Los Angeles. He sends his girlfriend, "Ginger," (or is she his girlfriend . . . there are a lot of twists in this film) played by Halle Berry, to recruit "Stanley Jobson," played by Hugh Jackman, for a job to hack into a government stash of cash and steal it.

Jackman's character is one of the most infamous computer hackers in the world, but he is a little bit down on his luck when Ginger comes to ask that he come to Los Angeles and meet Gabriel, offering him 100,000 dollars if he does so. Stanley agrees to come to LA and becomes involved in a heist to steal 8 billion dollars from the government when Gabriel convinces him he has no other choice. Oh, and by the way, did I say that Stanley's daughter, "Holly," (played by Camryn Grimes) is in LA? that makes for some good convenient complications. Camryn plays the daughter with a bit of maturity, making the character sympathetic to people who don't have children and usually find children in "grown-up" movies to be bothersome.

The director didn't feel he had to put the character in every scene either, which is refreshing (don't you just hate it when there's the annoying little kid sidekick in an action movie?). And so the hackers set out to steal the money with Don Cheadle's federal agent character of "Agent Roberts" on their tail. Surprisingly, Swordfish is an action film with more than just car chases and explosions (although it has both). After a raucous beginning where an explosion occurs outside of a bank, (using that slide around the room Matrix move) the action sequences blend very well with the exposition.

The filmmakers have done a great job of allowing this film to have a solid balance between the action and talking worlds. None of the action sequences seem superfluous and all of the scenes where something isn't blowing up flow very nicely. This film also has a very interesting look to it. although most of the film's angles are not that unique, the color and tone of the scenes gives the picture an other-worldly feel that can make you think that this story is taking place in an alternate reality. But the director has kept just enough reality into the film to make you feel like you'd like to be there. Swordfish has that gritty but cool look that reminds me of Three Kings with a little more polish. Not that Three Kings needed any polish.

I'd have to say that there was only one part of this movie that I didn't like and that was where Halle Berry's character bares all for Hugh Jackman's character (and the audience). The scene just didn't seem motivated by any of the characters or events. And it didn't lead the story anywhere either. The audience already knows what type of character Ginger is because of a lip-locking incident with Stanley near the beginning of the movie and another scene between the two where they almost lock lips a few minutes later. Perhaps the director thought he'd get more butts in the seats if he got Balle topless in the film. He's probably right. I bet the demographics for this film skewed male.

But I suppose since that is my only complaint with the film, I can't fault the filmmakers too much. Although the scene doesn't seem to belong, it doesn't bring the film to a complete halt or anything. Other components of this film that were more enjoyable though were the scenes where Hugh's character is involved in "hacking" into different places. Although I don't know a fig about hacking, these scenes were very realistic and free of the fake-looking colorful graphics usually associated with hacker movies. Remember The Net and all those red flashy screens and fake looking animations? Well, Swordfish has none of that.

There's a lot of typing of code and such and it all looks pretty good. They didn't go overboard on hacker-cheesiness. If you're looking for an intelligent action movie with a plot that has many twists and turns, you'll enjoy Swordfish. It has a fun surprise (though not genius) ending, but I won't give the ending away, of course. Definitely worth a ticket and a seven dollar bucket of popcorn. Good action movie fun.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs warner bros. 2001
home | archive | ratings | links | photographs | about | contact