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Swept Away (2002)

Thrown together by accident, passion was the last thing they expected

Directed by:

Guy Ritchie

Rating: 2/10

Running Time: 86 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


Madonna stars as Amber, a rich man's wife, who is beautiful but spoiled, arrogant and unpleasant. When husband Tony (Bruce Greenwood) takes her on a no-frills cruise from Greece to Italy, she is unimpressed and makes her feelings abundantly clear to everyone present. The primary target of her ire is the ship's first mate and fisherman Giuseppe (Adriano Giannini), who she picks on mercilessly. When Amber demands that Giuseppe takes her out in the dinghy, he tells her that it would be unwise because of the weather but she insists. Unsurprisingly, they end up being cast away on a deserted island.

Fortunately, they find an abandoned cabin on the island where they can set up home. Their relationship is tempestuous, characterised by manipulation, dominance and submission, and even violence. Eventually, Amber gives up her snooty ways and submits wholly to the dominant Giuseppe, even kissing his feet. When she sees a visiting yacht nearby, instead of hailing help, Amber hides because she wants to keep things as they are. However, Giuseppe wants her to prove her love by declaring it to the world, and insists on flagging down the next passing yacht.

'Swept Away' is based on 'Travolti da un Insolito Destino Nell'azzurro Mare d'Agosto' an Italian film made in 1974 by Lina Wertmüller. The original was a beautiful and thoughtful film that made bold comments about gender politics and social class, and it is unfortunate that this contemporary adaptation is so weak and unappealing. None of the characters are particularly likeable, and that situation does not improve – they never redeem themselves and at the end viewers are left wondering if they have learned anything at all about themselves through their experiences. Although the film is short at 86 minutes, even that seems too long – there is fully half-an-hour of scene-setting during which the story makes no progress before the two main characters find themselves on the island, and once they arrive there significant chunks of the time is filled with their rolling in the sand or with musical numbers designed to let Madonna strut her stuff.

It's Got: Some funny moments amongst the yacht crew at the start of the film.

It Needs: Characters, which are in some way likeable.

DVD Extras A fair collection of extras with this DVD release. Extras: Director and producer commentary, Deleted scenes, Filmographies, Making of, Trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10


da un Insolito Destino Nellazzurro Mare dAgosto/Swept an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August, Overboard., Summer Lovers


A wholly self-indulgent vehicle for Madonna full of unpleasant characters that fail to redeem themselves at any point in the story. This one simply isn’t worth the effort of watching – see the original instead.

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