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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Swept Away (2002)
(2019 Reissue)


Starring: Madonna, Adriano Giannini, Bruce Greenwood, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Elizabeth Banks
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 08 April 2019

Amber is a rich and entitled socialite, She and her husband join another couple to sail between Italy and Greece. Things are not all to her liking and she takes against Giuseppe, a deckhand. She forces him to take her out on a dingy, even though he warns her about an oncoming storm. Amber's inexperience leads them to be stranded on a desert island where circumstances reverse their power relationship…

Swept Away (2002. 1 hr, 29 min, 25 sec) is a romantic comedy, directed by Guy Richie, it was a remake of the successful Italian movie, directed by Line Wertmuller. Richie had previously found critical and commercial success with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000).

The film Stars Madonna, his wife at the time, and Adriano Giannini, the son of Giancarlo Giannini who had played the same deckhand role in the 1974 Italian version. The Italian version won an award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures for best foreign film. Guy’s version of the film barely made a tenth of its cost back and was savaged at the 2002 Golden Raspberry Awards, winning five awards in all.

So, what went wrong? Mostly I think this was not a well thought out vanity project for his then wife, Madonna. Richie admits that the script was quickly written, almost replacing the whole of the original dialogue and because of Madonna’s schedule the film was completed in a little over five weeks. Unfortunately, it shows.

There are a few obvious problems with the film. For a romantic comedy it fails to be funny. Madonna’s portrayal of Amber as a bitch is too acerbic, leaving little room for the audience to either like or empathise with the character. Worst still, there is little chemistry between Madonna and Giannini, certainly these two last issues leaves the film dead in the water.

The Blu-ray comes with a full-length commentary with Richie and producer Matthew Vaughn. Even within the body of the commentary, Richie muses on whether anyone listens to them. If you buy the film certainly watch it with the commentary, as the relationship between the men and their patter makes for a much funnier experience than having to watch the actual film.

You also get the Making of feature (19 min, 26 sec) which is better than most and includes Madonna interviewing Richie. There are seventeen deleted scenes (15 min, 58 sec) which add little to improve the experience, like the film these are best watched with the commentary.

So, in the end this is a great commentary experience attached to a pretty dull film.


Charles Packer

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