Swallow (2019) Review

Swallow (2019)

Directed & Written by Carlo Mirabella-Davis

Starring: Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, Elizabeth Marvel, David Rasche, Denis O’Hare

Plot Synopsis (via IMDb):
Hunter, a newly pregnant housewife, finds herself increasingly compelled to consume dangerous objects. As her husband and his family tighten their control over her life, she must confront the dark secret behind her new obsession.

My Opinion:

I’d been wanting to see this for ages as it looked like the weird kind of shit I like. Sounded like the kind of story David Cronenberg would do (but don’t get the wrong idea – this is nothing like a Cronenberg film!). I liked this one a lot (I’d say it’s one of my favorites I’ve watched so far this year, actually).

Swallow certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, though – I just like an unusual story. What also made me very happy is that this film is beautiful. She lives in this absolutely gorgeous house with an amazing view and wears ridiculously lovely dresses while vacuuming her gorgeous home in high heels like a good old-fashioned housewife, and the cinematography (I guess?) showcases all of this beautifully. I know nothing whatsoever about filmmaking & what makes this movie pretty. Cinematography? Art direction? I don’t know. I just know that I liked the look of it & I’m very into a film’s visuals (it’s why I like Argento & Leone movies). Promising Young Woman also had a good “look” that I liked. Swallow is a lovely looking film, so I’ve added quite a few images from it to give you an idea.

Besides looking so good, I was very surprised to find that this was a great character study. I thought Haley Bennett, as Hunter, was perfect. I think some people may have had the wrong idea before seeing this film, which is probably why its IMDb rating is unfairly low. Even I had wondered if it would somewhat be a “horror” (as I said, I had Cronenberg vibes from the synopsis). It’s also rated 18 (R in the US) but that must only be because the subject matter is so disturbing. Understandable, as it’s a scary but also very real disorder (called pica) and is a movie that shouldn’t be seen by anyone young as they’d not understand it.

Whether the movie does a good job exploring this real disorder I can’t say. I know nothing about it but am sure it has been studied by plenty of experts. But, as a film with a fictional character, I thought it did a great job showing someone with a mental illness & how those in her life didn’t support her. You could feel how alone Hunter felt despite having this seemingly perfect life. Without support & love from those in her life, her condition spirals out of control. I wanted to smack her damn husband & say “Be there for your wife, you superficial asshole!“.

Well, this was meant to be in my “monthly roundup” post next week. As it’s ended up a fairly long write-up, I’m posting it as a separate review. I don’t do that much lately due to not having the time but do wish I could do more posts dedicated to just one film when I really like one. I thought this was a very good film with odd & disturbing subject matter & a strong performance from Bennett. It’s one I’d be scared to actually recommend to anyone, though. Definitely not one for everyone & you’d have to be sure you’d be okay watching the character doing this dangerous thing to herself. It could be a very upsetting movie for some people due to a few uncomfortable subjects in it. As a film lover, I’m happy to see such a well made film. The director hasn’t made many films yet & I’d be interested in seeing more of his work now.

My Rating: 7.5/10

*Just like with Promising Young Woman, I’m teetering on the edge of giving this 8/10! I think I’m not as generous with my ratings now as I’ve rated stuff too highly in the past. I may still make this an 8…

Dallas Buyers Club (2013) Review

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Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée

Starring:
Matthew McConaughey
Jennifer Garner
Jared Leto
Steve Zahn
Dallas Roberts
Michael O’Neill
Denis O’Hare
Griffin Dunne
John Tabler
Jane McNeill
James DuMont

Running time: 116 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Matthew McConaughey stars as AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who smuggled unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into Texas when he found them effective at improving his symptoms, distributing them to fellow sufferers by establishing the eponymous “Dallas Buyers Club” whilst facing opposition from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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My Opinion:

Matthew McConaughey… I watched & reviewed Mud recently & commented that I’ve never really been a fan of his (other than in Dazed & Confused – he’s hilariously pervy in that). I didn’t LOVE him in Mud but did like that it was a different sort of role to what I’ve seen him do before. Then I saw him in The Wolf Of Wall Street and thought he was great (although we’ve kind of seen him play that smarmy sort of guy before). Well, McConaughey is finally growing on me after Dallas Buyers Club. I really liked him in it & really enjoyed the movie. And since seeing this movie, I’ve also watched the first episode of True Detective. I don’t love the show quite yet (sorry, Eric!) but it seems to have potential & McConaughey is clearly the one to watch. The main reason I’ll be watching a few more episodes will be to see how they develop his character.

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As for this movie, I’ve not looked into how accurate it is compared to the true story but it’s the type of story that’s perfect for a Hollywood adaptation so I can see why it was done. It was fascinating to watch the story unfold. It does go a bit “Hollywood” at times but, hey, what doesn’t? It’s a gritty and a serious subject matter but has great characters & relationships and you can’t help but want a happy Hollywood ending even though you know that’s not going to be the case here. The movie doesn’t focus TOO heavily on all the issues and failures of the FDA (which was fine by me). I think it strikes a good balance between telling us the story & focusing on developing the characters, which is usually just as important (if not more important to me) than a film’s story. McConaughey & Leto are both very good and I think deserving of their Oscar nominations (particularly McConaughey) although wins probably aren’t likely against others nominated. Seriously, though – How many times do I have to type McConaughey before my iPhone recognizes it?! I hope it’s by the time I review Bernie.

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Summary:

Keeping this short as I’ve gotten lazy fallen very behind on writing my own reviews since all the great IMDB guest reviews that have been pouring in. Dallas Buyers Club has a very interesting story with well developed characters and some Oscar worthy acting. You can’t really ask for much more. It’s a solid movie and I’m glad I saw it. It’s also yet another best picture Oscar nominee that’s better than American Hustle. (I still have five more of those to watch before the Oscars – I better hurry!)

My Rating: 8/10

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