Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Swimming with Sharks

We are at the scene of a murder and as the corpse is being wheeled into an ambulance a female voiceover tells us that this is not going to be a tale of love conquers all. We then see a young film executive's assistant takes his boss hostage and begins to torture and demean him, while we are shown flashbacks of the last year in the young man's life as he endures abuse after abuse at the hand of the insufferable employer. Swimming with Sharks is an over the top satire of breaking into the film industry. This ripoff of Robert Altman's great film The Player is smarmy and uneven (Altman is even knocked here, or maybe paid tribute I couldn't tell). I also didn't by Frank Whaley's character's transformation from doormat into ruthless executive and this is made even more clear through the flashback narrative structure where we can compare past and present and realize that the character simply lacks credibility. Still, I appreciated the dark cynicism of the screenplay and the early performance from Kevin Spacey is an absolute knockout as he plays that kind of sleek and hateful character which he does so deliciously well.