Swept Away (2002)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5.  

United Kingdom/Italy, 2002.  Screen Gems, SKA Films, Codi S.p.a..  Screenplay by Guy Ritchie, based on the screenplay Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

is excellent in this remake of Lina Wertmuller’s 1975 original of the same name, as a bitchy aristocrat who mistreats her servants aboard her yacht during a trip on the Adriatic Sea. When she and one of her servants (, in the role his father played for Wertmuller) are lost at sea on a dinghy and end up on a deserted island, the tables turn in the game of power: she who was the economic source of his survival is now at the mercy of a man who knows about hunting and fishing,  He has every intention of making her pay for her previous cruelty to him, though that is done away with quickly in favour of a lot of empty montages and their eventual romance.  Wertmuller’s theorizing on supply and demand and the exploitation of the individual for the common good is updated by director Guy Ritchie without emphasizing much of its original social context, leaving a romantic comedy/drama with a hollow centre that can at times be tedious (enough with the montage sequences!) and shallow. However, what makes it worthwhile is the sexy chemistry between the two leads and the fact that Madonna looks great in just about every shot (sort of a Monica Vitti for the generation, albeit with a lot less mystery). You never really buy her as a big meanie, but her acting is some of her best work ever, involving her audience in her emotional journey from cowardly snot to self-reliant and independent survivor the whole way.

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