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Netflix Summer movie pick 'Swept Away' starring 80s singing superstar Madonna

Swept Away


The film chosen for this week’s Netflix Summer movie reviews comes from Netflix’s Top 5000 choices. Swept Away stars 80s singing superstar Madonna. It was first released in 2002.

Adriano Giannini has his hands full when a very wealthy Madonna is shipwrecked with him.

Madonna plays Amber, a rich woman whose husband, Tony (Bruce Greenwood) is the owner of a large pharmaceutical company. Amber is a viciously bitchy character who is out to make everyone’s life miserable.

Tony decides to take his wife and two other bourgeois couples on vacation. He chooses to take a “cruise,” however, the ship he chooses is a smaller ship that has a crew of a captain, two kitchen staff members and a fisherman. Guiseppe is the fisherman who serves as a waiter and servant to the wealthy guests.

The sexual tension between Guiseppe and Amber begins right away. The woman is consistently making nasty remarks to Guiseppe, calling him names such as “Pee-pee” and “Guido.” The captain demands Guiseppe treat the woman and the rest of the rich guests with respect. Guiseppe does everything he can to hold his tongue, even while Amber is creating a horrible work environment for the man.

Roles change when Amber wakes one morning and decides she wants to go where her friends have gone. Her friends had left earlier while Amber was sleeping. Guiseppe informs her that the weather could change at any moment. She challenges his mental capacity and tells him she wants to go anyway. Guiseppe obliges and the dingy eventually stops operating, leaving them stranded in the middle of the ocean.

The two wait for rescue. The rescue ship never comes. They spend a night on the small inflatable boat until the following morning when they see a cruise ship. Amber immediately grabs a flare gun to get the attention of the ship staff. Guiseppe grabs the gun and a battle ensues. The gun eventually goes off, hitting the bottom of the boat. The two swim to the shores of a deserted island.

Guiseppe takes immediate control of the situation by doing what he does best. He catches a huge lobster and a fish for dinner. Amber assumes the food is for her as well but Guiseppe has different plans. He tells her that she cannot eat until she calls him master and earns her keep.

Amber fights the new rules but eventually succumbs to his control after being slapped several times and knowing she won’t eat unless she plays his game. Guiseppe has her dance for him and sing at one point. Madonna’s voice sounds like a cat in heat until he yells at her about her singing abilities. Guiseppe begins fantasizing that she is on a stage, singing for him. Of course Madonna’s voice comes through and she sings to him and for him. It’s a rather strange scene in my opinion.

Guiseppe tells Amber to remove her top. When she refuses, he chases her down, threatening to rape her. It’s a scary scene and I thought he was actually going to be ruthless enough to pull it off, but in the end, he has her asking to have sex with him. This isn’t by way of control. Amber actually wants him. He tells her no and goes into his shack where he sits and definitely feels horrible for the way he has treated her.

The story comes down to the two returning and their relationship definition is up to Amber. She does have a husband and her life she left behind when she was stranded. The flick ultimately turns into a love story.

The two continue on with the master/slave situation. Without giving the rest of the film away, I would have to say this is one of the ugliest films I have seen. Ugly only because of the domination factor. It’s not one I would have normally chosen.

The storyline does get better and the film redeems itself in many ways but the thought of the initial confrontation is wrong on so many levels.

Madonna takes on the role well, yet I’m surprised she chose the character Amber due to the feminine degradation in the beginning. Amber learns about life and respect being with Guiseppe, but it seems too hardcore in terms of how she learns life’s lessons. Amber is a character that is a true bitch and yet I found her schooling a bit harsh.

Some of the cinematography is amazing. The movie was filmed In Alghero, Sassari, Sardinia Italy; Blue Lagoon, Comino Malta; Cartoe beach, Sardinia Italy and various other places around Italy and Malta.

I would have to rate the movie three popcorns out of five. I find redeeming qualities and yet the film was odd. Madonna fans might love the flick but I’m not a huge Madonna fan. I find her okay as an actress though, but not enough to find this film amazing. With the unexpected ending and the cinematography plus the cast, it earns the three popcorns. For the strange way of teaching her lessons of how to treat others and the violence in them, I took away two popcorns. I just don’t believe that the anger should have been part of the way to love. If it were a story in life, I would have given advice to Amber to run while she had the chance, no matter how big of a snooty woman she seems to be.

I recommend the film to most, however, if you do watch the movie, be prepared to be appalled if your past includes any type of domestic violence.

Cast of Swept Away:

The screenplay for Swept Away was written by Guy Ritchie.

Bruce Greenwood as Tony
Madonna as Amber
Elizabeth Banks as Debi
Michael Beattie as Todd
Jeanne Tripplehorn as Marina
David Thornton as Michael
Yorgo Voyagis as the captain
Ricardo Perna as crew member
Adriano Giannini as Guiseppe
George Antoni as Chef
Beatrice Luzzi as rich lady
Lorenzo Ciompi as the rich man
Patrizio Rispo as the burly captain
Francis Pardeilhan as Tony’s assistant
Rosa Pianeta as the receptionist
Andrea Ragatzu as the bell boy

The film was produced by Matthew Vaughn. Co-producer was Adam Bohling and David Reid. The associate producer was Michael Morgan.

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