review for Swept Away on AllMovie

Swept Away (2002)
by Perry Seibert review

Guy Ritchie's remake of Swept Away became one of the more notable turkeys in the already bird-laden filmography of his then-wife Madonna. Ritchie deserves some credit for attempting something different from the films that brought him acclaim. His early films displayed a love of filmmaking and an ease behind the camera, but Swept Away is so lacking in story, thematic resonance, or interesting characters that the few fancy montage sequences he throws in feel like desperate attempts to keep an audience he was smart enough to know he had lost. His actors do not help. Adriano Giannini has some scruffy charm, but he looks like he knows this isn't supposed to be his film. Never has Madonna's lack of ability onscreen been more apparent. While lounging with her lover on their deserted beach, Madonna contorts herself into unnatural positions in order to prevent the possibility of revealing anything erotic about her remarkably athletic physique. This makes the audience constantly aware that she knows we are watching her as an actress. She doesn't look like someone lounging on an ideal paradise with a lover, but like an actress who is unable to get over herself. Madonna's canny promotional ability would indicate she was smart enough to realize that the part of a cold, rich, bitch would allow her to spoof her public persona, but a combination of pride and lack of talent will not allow her to play the fool. She might have gotten an audience to laugh with her, but as it is now, anyone who sees the film will most certainly be laughing at her. Swept Away comes close to achieving all-time camp-classic status, especially considering the disastrously serious would be-tearjerker third act that asks the audience to believe real emotions were actually shared between the two leads. Had Madonna the conviction to allow people to laugh at her or Ritchie the skill to keep the entire affair light and breezy, Swept Away might have worked as something other than another Madonna movie punch line.