Swept Away (2002)

(On DVD, January 2004) Yikes! What the heck happened to Guy Ritchie? After spectacular success with films like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, here comes this… travesty. Granted, it stars Madonna and she was (at the time of the film’s release, anyway) his wife. But the problems with Swept Away run much, much deeper than her deficient acting skills (she does fine, actually) or the lavish indulgence the film showers over her. The script, in a few words, simply suck. I don’t care about the “comedy” argument: There aren’t many ways a man demanding “you will call me master” to a woman can sound funny these days, as the film devolves into an insipid power trip. It’s unconvincing, not really amusing (save for some sparse gags) and it just takes forever to move. While the Mediterranean cinematography is nice, it’s not a substitute for plot or dialogue, and Swept Away fails when it comes to those. The direction is so flat that it’s virtually impossible to guess that Ritchie is as the helm, which is probably the film’s most damning indictment. To top it off, the so-called “comedy” ends on a complete downer. But don’t worry: You will have stopped caring long before. Maybe even stopped watching long before. The DVD contains a puzzling “making of” interview between Madonna and Ritchie, as well as a commentary track I will watch only after being paid big bucks.

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