A remake of the 1974 Italian film directed by Lina Wertmuller, Swept Away follows a spoiled wealthy woman Amber (Madonna) and a Communist fisherman Giuseppe (Adriano Giannini) who go from spending days on a fancy yacht to being stranded on a Mediterranean island. While there, Giuseppe decides to gain authority and enslave Amber, because he’s tired of her berating him. I think one of the biggest issues I have with the movie is Amber, who’s too bitter and irredeemably nasty. In fact, she’s so awful that any attempt to faithfully capture the comedic tension and beauty of Wertmuller’s film comes off as unbelievably forced. Apart from Madonna’s overacting, Guy Ritchie’s take on Swept Away makes a wide series of dumb changes that ruin the chemistry of the original. In the 1974 version, Gennarino and Raffaella find a frigate in the distance, so they fight over the whistle for rescue, showing the first signs of them working off each other; later they find the island and row toward it, working together for the first time. In the remake, Amber and Giuseppe find a flare gun, fight over it before punching a hole in the raft, and they get washed away on the island. Also, in the original, after an attempted rape by Gennarino, Raffaella looks away into the bed of kelp reflecting on her decisions and, after watching Gennarino hunting, skinning and cooking a hare, she inevitably gives herself to him, hoping it would satisfy the merciless man; therefore the two engage in sexual relations later that night. In the remake, Amber looks into the campfire, watching her material world crumble, and the next day she drops the logs, kisses Giuseppe’s legs and they have sex. By making these changes, Guy Ritchie makes one of the worst remakes of all time, evaporating any levity or human connection that made Lina Wertmuller’s film funny and powerful.
(1/2 Octopus out of 5)
Swept Away review