Swept Away: Collector's Edition (2002)

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Released 22-Apr-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes-16 +/- director's commentary
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Glitter; Riding In Cars With Boys
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 85:42
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (45:52) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Guy Ritchie
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Madonna
Adriano Giannini
Bruce Greenwood
Jeanne Tripplehorn
Michael Beattie
David Thornton
Elizabeth Banks
Yorgo Voyagis
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Michel Colombier


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
Hindi
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Swept Away has attracted a large amount of public derision and critical condemnation. Directed by Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch), one would imagine this movie should have some legs. It is a remake of the slightly controversial 1974 Italian movie Travolti da un insolito destino nellazzurro mare dagosto or "Swept Away... by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August" starring Giancarlo Giannini (father of the male lead in this version). The star of the movie is Mrs Ritchie - or Madonna as she prefers to be known. Never having watched Madonna act (other than in music video performances), I approached the movie with as open a mind as possible.

    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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

   Following Murphy's Law this disc, of course, presents us with an excellent tranfer. The movie is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. According to the commentary, the film has been digitally graded, which allows for a lot more control over the colour-balance, contrast and even framing of the scenes.

   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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The overall audio quality of this disc is really quite good with a pleasing Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack recorded at 448 kbps. There were no major audio defects noted.

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is very nicely presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with a bleached-out animated montage of clips from the film. It includes background Greek music from the movie, which neatly reflects the ambience of the film.

Director and Producer Commentary

    This is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio transfer and is quite amusing with Guy Ritchie and (Producer) Matthew Vaughan talking anecdotally about the movie-making experience. They seem to talk very little about the on-screen action, and focus more on behind-the-scenes information, as if sensing that this would make the on-screen action even more excruciatingly boring than it already is. It is satisfying when they confess to the glaringly obvious continuity error between 72:30 and 73:53 where an actor changes, almost mid-stride, from a green check sports jacket and black jumper, into a black suit and white shirt.The subtitles provided for the commentary follow most of the dialogue quite well, with minor edits for brevity.

"Making of" Featurette

    MTV Swept Away movie special. This is quite funny and features Madonna and Ritchie interviewing one another, seemingly at home, with just under twenty minutes of witty banter and behind-the-scenes footage.

Deleted Scenes

    Sixteen blurry deleted scenes are presented. They would have added little to the movie other than run-time. Tellingly, on the commentary of the first deleted scene Ritchie explains that it was cut out because "It was f***ing boring". If only they had deleted more...

Filmographies

    Brief filmographies are presented for Guy Ritchie, Madonna, Adriano Giannini, Bruce Greenwood and Jeanne Tripplehorn.

Trailers

    A selection of trailers for Swept Away, Glitter and Riding in Cars with Boys.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 DVD appears to be essentially the same as the Region 4 release (bar French subtitles). I can honestly recommend neither version, but if you must have one of them, then the Region 4 would be my choice based on the superior PAL transfer, but far more importantly, the four-minute shorter running time.

Summary

    Madonna's acting is so wooden that she should try carpentry instead of acting. Adriano Giannini should take up modelling, or - even better - mime. Take my advice, and use the time you would have wasted on watching this movie to finally strip that asbestos from the outdoor dunny, do some weeding, or watch paint dry. This is a movie which will probably hold appeal for die-hard Madonna fans only.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are quite entertaining, but will probably not warrant repeat viewing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Friday, April 18, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationONKYO TX-DS484
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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