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Customer Review

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We Had Nice New Pink Lungs In Those Days", 2 Jan. 2010
This review is from: The Swimmer [DVD] [1968] [2003] (DVD)
I was 9 or 10 when I first saw this movie. Not the best age to watch a film about a middle age man's breakdown perhaps, but Boy am I glad I did. Alongside Ray's "In A Lonely Place", I had been immediately cursed with a passion for film that my young brain could not fathom. It was purely intuitive. The curse eventually led me to become a screenwriter. But back then, in the 1980's when Eddie Murphy and Police Academy films were most popular, my 9 year old eyes could not believe what I was watching. I simply could not take my eyes off the screen. The Swimmer is sinister in a subtle kind of way. It starts in the woods with the sound of branches being broken by naked feet. An owl hoots and a deer flits away. Someone's running fast, but from what or whom? Then before we know it we're by the pool with a host of characters drinking hangover cocktails discussing how beautiful the weather is. The Swimmer is one of the most haunting American movies ever made. Some might say "Sweet Smell Of Success" is Burt's finest hour, but for my money, Neddy Merrill is his greatest performance. He lends sadness, madness, despair, joy and optimism with melancholic pessimism. I don't think DeNiro or even Pacino have the range that Lancaster displays here. It's outstanding. The whole film has the sense of a man's life slipping away. It's poetic in the way that Burt seems to be unaware that he's no longer in the prime of his life. He defiantly swims on against the tide of time, desperately trying to cling onto the happier times. There's one scene where Burt's pool to pool odyssey threatens to be undone. An empty swimming pool with no water to swim through brings him to an almost full stop. But somehow, Burt does every stroke without. He does it because he wants to ignite the imagination of a sad young child. When he walks away, he worries that the child might be too imaginative and jump off the diving board. It reminds me of a Salinger short story I once read called Teddy. And perhaps as I get older I find more reason to love this film. It's a cinematic equivilent of all those great American novels I've enjoyed by Salinger, Fitzegerald and Faulkner and of course Cheever whose story the film is based on. This is a film to return to time and time again. You'll never be so casual about your front crawl again.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Jan 2012 15:10:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Jan 2012 15:16:08 GMT
misrule says:
Thanks for that review.

I was thinking this was a film to watch without the children because they wouldn't be interested, but our son is ten and he wants to be a film-maker, so we will now watch it with him, because I read your review.
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Location: England

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