Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Swallow - Movie Review

The Movie: Swallow

The Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis

The Cast: Haley Bennett, Austin Stowell, Denis O'Hare, Elizabeth Marvel, David Rasche

The Story: Hunter, a newly pregnant housewife, finds herself increasingly compelled to consume dangerous objects. As her husband and his family tighten their control over her life, she must confront the dark secret behind her new obsession.

The Review:
Holy crap, there's a lot packed into this movie and it is way more than just some creepy film where a woman swallows batteries, thumb tacks, and dirt. First let me say that the compulsion to consume dangerous objects is a real thing called pica and it is a very serious type eating disorder that is common in children and pregnant women. Based on how this movie plays out, there is most likely some type of trauma that eventually triggers the disorder.

Haley Bennett, who has risen to prominence in the last few years with strong performances in The Magnificent 7 and The Girl on the Train, is absolutely mesmerizing as Hunter. The moments where she is caving into the compulsions and then reveling in the immediate results are fascinating to watch with nothing but facial expression and physical emoting taking place. The psychological roller coaster Hunter goes through during the entire movie is almost exhausting and at the same time you just can't take your eyes off of her because Bennett is just that good.

The rest of the cast is just kind of there playing stereotypical roles that are slightly exaggerated and very intentional. The director doesn't spend a lot of time on fleshing out everyone's story which is perfect because what we see on the surface is really all that's needed. This also allows Bennett's character to be the emotional core of the movie while everyone else is basically contributing to an environment that is extremely toxic for a woman who we learn has some serious issues from her childhood already in place.

It was interesting to see how director Carlo Mirabella-Davis took the movie from a first act that is meant to make you as uncomfortable as possible to eventually being a story of discovery and eventual redemption. The one unfortunate thing about how the story plays out is that, once the shock and awe of watching the disorder in action has run its course, the rest of the film is just kind of average and loses some of it's bite and intensity. That being said, the entire package is well worth the effort especially factoring in Bennett's performance.

Swallow is a must watch movie and a beautifully filmed work of art. Haley Bennett absolutely nails a performance that demands everything from every moment that she is on screen. The movie can easily be described as a drama, a thriller, a horror movie, or all of the above and, even with a sluggish third act, it's an experience that will have you on edge and fully immersed into a very unstable mind.

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