Swept Away: Collector's Edition (2002)
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Menu Animation & Audio
Deleted Scenes-16 +/- director's commentary
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Glitter; Riding In Cars With Boys
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (45:52)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Guy Ritchie|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The storyline in the movie is a simple one. Amber Leighton (Madonna) is a rich-b**** with a heart of stone and an ego only slightly smaller than her husband's private jet. She, her husband Tony, a pharmaceutical magnate (Bruce Greenwood), and a group of four friends, head off on holiday with the intention of cruising on a charter vessel from Greece to Italy. The friends consist of other equally wealthy Americans, although mercifully not quite as arrogant as Amber. Jeanne Tripplehorn plays Marina, a nihilist lush, her husband Michael is played by David Thornton. The final American couple are airhead Debi and Todd, played by Elizabeth Banks and Michael Beattie (apparently married to Cyndi Lauper according to the commentary) respectively. I am not sure why any of these characters exist - they contribute absolutely nothing to the plot and their dialogue simply serves to slow the film down even further.
We spend the first reel watching Madonna behave as beastly as possible toward the Italian aide Giuseppe (Adriano Giannini). She takes great delight in calling him "Guido" or "Pee-Pee", making him work very hard to serve her and generally treating him as a slave. Her behaviour is totally inexplicable, with an overdose of vitriol and bile in every sentence; this lady clearly needs to be on some very strong medication, for the safety of all those she meets. The red-blooded Giuseppe doesn't react to this treatment too well and it is clear that there is no love lost between the two.
The plot moves into the next phase as the two protagonists become stranded at sea. Eventually washing up on a deserted island, the two begin a life of isolation and survival. With the absence of Amber's rich husband and friends, Giuseppe sees the opportunity for payback, and as we all know...payback is a b****. With the shoe firmly on the other foot, Giuseppe reverses the power-base and forces Amber into a life of servitude. There is more than a hint of sadomasochism in the relationship that develops between them, and it is not terribly pleasant to observe.
Predictably, the relationship slowly turns the corner and the two form a romantic bond. All appears to be progressing well, until a yacht appears in the bay of the small island and the two are rescued, to return to normal life. Can the relationship survive? Will Amber return to her financially well-endowed husband, or stick with the hirsute fisherman?
So, is Swept Away the lemon which so many have proclaimed it?
Unfortunately, yes, it is. The film starts badly for me with Ritchie's use of fast-motion shots of the private jet taking off; I initially thought my DVD player was stuck on forward scan. Throughout the movie, Ritchie employs some quirky camera angles and video effects, which did not add to my viewing pleasure. The locations - Malta and Sardinia - are stunning.
Giuseppe's character was slightly less interesting than Wilson (the volleyball) in that other recent desert-island movie, Castaway, with slightly less meaningful dialogue. Amber's character is so repugnant and unbelievable that it borders on caricature. I just did not care about what happened to either of them - I simply yearned for the movie to end. Goldie Hawn played the rich-b**** infinitely better as Joanna Stayton in Overboard in 1987 - a movie which dealt with a very similar theme, and which was much more enjoyable than Swept Away.
Did somebody say dialogue? What dialogue? Oh - those occasional sounds in between Madonna's screeching and Giannini's mumbling? Well, there's not much to it I'm afraid. Mr Ritchie proudly points out in the commentary that " The dialogue's comparatively easy". Well sure Guy, when it's this bad it probably is easy. The script is awful, the conversations pointless and the relationship directionless.
Amazingly, Guy Ritchie says in the commentary "Now I've got to say, I think Madonna's f***ing good in this. I thought this role was good for Madonna, because I know the public can be less than fair on Madonna". Before watching Swept Away I had not seen Madonna act; after watching this movie, my claim still stands. Sorry if that seems unfair, Mr Ritchie, but she simply does not act. The one truly fun scene in the movie, was where Madonna performs (with the aid of lip-synch) a good ole song'n'dance number. If I may be so bold - she should continue to do what she is, undoubtedly, excellent at - and avoid acting at all costs.
Swept Away is a tedious viewing experience. Guy Ritchie himself says in the commentary " I've got to tell you, these films sorta fall together a bit more out of luck than judgement, dun they?". Mr Ritchie, your luck has just run out.
The film is generally quite sharp, with no major grain issues. Colours are bright and clear with a slightly over-bleached (or washed-out) effect on shipboard scenes, which I assume were the artistic choice of the director. The shadow detail evident in the low light scenes throughout the movie is generally excellent, with no evidence of low-level noise.
The transfer exhibits very few MPEG artefacts, with only the slightest hint of posterization at 57:37 and minimal compression artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts are mildly evident although not too distracting, with minor aliasing present at various points including 7:57, 22:15 and 46:37. Film artefacts are rare with a very few minor white specks which are almost unnoticeable.
There are several subtitles present on the disc, with the rather strange choices of English, Dutch or Hindi. The English subtitles follow the dialogue quite well - I cannot comment on the Dutch or Hindi versions I'm afraid.
This is an RDSL disc with the layer change present at 45:52, which causes a minor delay but is reasonably well placed at a scene transition.
The dialogue was sometimes unclear, but this was due to the actors' limitations rather than the recording. Between Gianinni's mumbled Italian gibberish and Madonna's screeching obscenities, there were several occasions when the dialogue was all but impossible to make out without repeated or very careful listening. Audio synch was not a problem, save one minor occurrence at 18:26.
The musical score is credited to Michel Colombier and is quite evocative of the island setting. There is a beautiful hypnotic song (Fade into You), performed by Mazzy Star over the "bonding" scenes from 66:59, which is wonderful and makes me want to hear more by this Californian band. This track is the single best feature of the entire disc.
The surround channels were well-used subtly throughout the movie for ocean noises, and more dramatically during several thunderstorm scenes.
The subwoofer was lightly used during the movie, mainly for thunderstorm effects.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras are quite entertaining, but will probably not warrant repeat viewing.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|