Swimfan Movie 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.


Comments

Swimfan Rating

" Grim "

Rating: PG-13, Opened: Friday, September 6, 2002

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Contrary To Her Song Lyrics, Lana Del Rey Worked Her Way To The Top

Lana Del Rey is no stranger to vicious rumours, but she definitely did not...

Contrary To Her Song Lyrics, Lana Del Rey Worked Her Way To The Top

Weird Al Scores First U.S Number 1 With New Album

The album was released only one week ago and sold 103,000 copies to secure the top...

Weird Al Scores First U.S Number 1 With New Album

Peaches Geldof's Cause of Death Confirmed as Heroin Overdose

The second daughter of musician Bob Geldof, Peaches Geldof was thrust...

Peaches Geldof's Cause of Death Confirmed as Heroin Overdose

Robert Downey Jr.IS Iron Man... But For How Long?

You know who he is. Robert Downey Jr.’s involvement in the Iron Man franchise has been...

Robert Downey Jr.IS Iron Man... But For How Long?

Hercules Extended Trailer

Following his deadly ordeal of being put through the Twelve Labours by his father Zeus and his...

Hercules Trailer

Miley Cyrus Appears in Pharrell's New Video 'Come Get It Bae'

Cyrus also features on the track's vocals, and -perhaps most shockingly of all- resists...

Miley Cyrus Appears in Pharrell's New Video 'Come Get It Bae'
Advertisement

That Time Snoop Dogg Puffed Mary Jane at The White House

Snoop Dogg has joined Willie Nelson as weed-loving musicians who have smoked...

That Time Snoop Dogg Puffed Mary Jane at The White House

Gershwinner: Our Top 5 Billy Joel Songs

Billy Joel has long been regarded as one of music’s finest songwriters but it will soon be all more official...

Gershwinner: Our Top 5 Billy Joel Songs

Rob Reiner's 'And So It Goes' Is A Safe Bet At The Cinema This Weekend

Fresh from the critical and box office success of Behind The Candelabra, for...

Rob Reiner's 'And So It Goes' Is A Safe Bet At The Cinema This Weekend


More recommendations

Advertisement