Swimfan

"Weak"

Swimfan Review


"Swimfan" is the kind of thriller that requires, for the plot to move forward, a complete absence of common sense on the part of the hero -- in this case a high school swim team star (Jesse Bradford) with a sultry, psycho, jailbait stalker (Erika Christensen).

No matter what crazy thing the deranged girl does to him -- leave her panties in his car, email him 81 times in a day, spike his urine sample with steroids, frame him for murder -- Bradford never tells a single person what's really going on because if anyone was watching his back, there would be no movie.

Which isn't to say "Swimfan" doesn't have its guilty pleasures. OK, one guilty pleasure. Christensen -- Michael Douglas's smack-addicted daughter in "Traffic," a beautiful girl with the heart-shaped face and sly, portentous eyes -- is such a fun, wicked, spiteful villainess that she keeps the flick afloat all by herself.

No help comes from the very vanilla Bradford ("Clockstoppers") -- a snarl-smiling product of the Keanu Reeves/Freddie Prinze, Jr. school of single-expression acting. No help comes from Shiri Appleby (TV's "Roswell"), who lacks any discernable personality as Bradford's blandly ideal girlfriend, to whom he's so devoted that he has sex with Christensen within days of her transferring to their school, thus setting off the girl's delusional obsession that quickly turns dangerous.

Christensen dominates the movie from the moment she begs Bradford to "Tell me you love me!" when they're going at it in the campus swimming pool after hours. "You don't have to mean it," she whispers so ominously that you know she means the exact opposite of what she says.

But even Christensen's character has some problems (besides the obvious mental ones), not the least of which is that costume designer Arjun Bhasin has, for some reason, dressed the 17-year-old like an "Ally McBeal" lawyer.

First-time director John Polson has an eye for richly shadowy visuals, but the man went overboard with revolving cameras and gratuitous repetition of multiple takes in several tense scenes. He must have seen similar effects used to drive home emotions in films by, say, a Steven Soderbergh or a Lars Von Trier. But in Polson's inexperienced, B-movie hands the editing of these multiple takes is so haphazard that it proves a major distraction in what should be some of "Swimfan's" most jarring moments.

Of course, stuck with a hero that has no wits, "Swimfan" has to go to implausible extremes to find a climax, and in its final scenes even Christensen can't deliver a convincing performance when called on to take her character to the lunatic fringe.

"Swimfan" might be a good rental if you want to throw popcorn at the screen with your friends sometime after it's out on video. But it's certainly not worth the price of a movie ticket.



Swimfan

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th September 2002

Box Office USA: $28.3M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 14%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 78

IMDB: 4.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Ben Cronin, as Madison Bell, as Amy Miller, as Carla Cronin, as Randy, as Josh, as Coach Simkins, as Detective John Zabel, Phyllis Somerville as Aunt Gretchen Christopher, as Christopher Dante, as Jake's Nurse

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.