This is the sort of movie that leaves you sputtering through the credits, “What the ding did I just watch?” I gave this a shot based solely on my high opinion of Charlotte Rampling as an actress and she did not disappoint. So much of the subtext of this film is highly internal and Rampling has a gift for letting subtle thoughts play across her steely features while not moving a single solitary muscle. The plot of Swimming Pool would seem to be quite simple, but you’d be very, very wrong about that. Sarah Morton (Rampling), a British mystery author, has lost her creative spark and in an effort to help, her publisher (Charles Dance) offers his vacation home in France for her to go relax and rejuvenate. She takes him up on it and is having a wonderful time until the publisher’s daughter (Ludivine Sagnier) shows up unexpectedly.
This movie is like a swan swimming on a lake: all serene, quiet grace above but beneath the surface is a flurry of activity as legs madly stir the water. It craftily subverts every single assumption you make when slowly getting into the story and then cuts like a blade so sharp you don’t even realize you’ve been injured until you notice the blood. A beautifully twisted subtle and abstract piece of cinema that challenges you on every front and really makes you work for even the slightest bit of resolution. This will leave your brain in a froth, breathlessly cogitating on what you’ve seen, turning it over and over in your head trying to piece together what really happened. I should explain that while I really liked this movie, I only give it four stars because it isn’t one I would ever like to watch again. Trying to see it again would be ruinous as the intricately crooked narrative depends on the viewer’s naïveté and prior knowledge would bring the whole house of cards crashing down. Brilliant, disturbing, very French (in a good way!) and as well crafted as the murder mysteries Sarah purportedly writes so well, I recommend this only if you really enjoy movies that leave you with more questions than answers. A cerebral erotic thriller for aficionados and dilettantes of deliciously twisted psychological mysteries. – BETHANY
For more on Swimming Pool consult: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0324133/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Publisher John Bosload (Charles Dance – Game of Thrones) – Don’t give up, Sarah. You’re an award winning author!
Bosload and Sarah Morton (Charlotte Rampling) “Awards are like hemorrhoids. Sooner or later every asshole gets one.”
Tywin Lannister has a nice place in France.
Soak it in, Sarah.
Sarah relaxing and slowly killing herself with cigarettes.
An unwelcome visitor – Ludivine Sagnier as Julie.
The annoyed phone call to John Bosload. Dude, your daughter is spoiling my happy place!
Suddenly Julie’s presence overshadows everything.
“You’re just a frustrated Englishwoman who writes about dirty things but never does them. You can shove your uptight morals up your ass!”
It’s a little hard to work when Julie invites a steady stream of guys over to party.
Sarah becomes a voyeur as Julie’s wild and reckless life spills all over the place.
Motion Picture Rating: ‘Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, some violence and drug use’. There’s a lot of nudity, including full frontal.
Sarah tries to be nice and get to know Julie a little better.
Julie gets Sarah to loosen up.
Charlotte Rampling rocks a bucket hat.
Then things get really interesting …
The official trailer for Swimming Pool:
Photos courtesy of Fidélité Productions, France 2 Cinéma, Gimages, FOZ, Headforce Ltd., Canal+, Celluloid Dreams and Focus Features