SWALLOW (2020) Review

  1. An iridescent marble
  2. A push pin
  3. A battery
  4. A tack
  5. A slotted screwdriver

What do all these objects have in common? Oh, c’mon. Do you really need a hint?

Beginning with early shots of our heroine cleaning her pool in a bright yellow raincoat and arranging tiny vegetables around a perfectly-browned mini chicken, there is a hyper-focus on the color and arrangement of objects. She’s got red lips and a red dress and dreams of planting “tiger lilies, tulips, and morning glories” in the garden on her enviable riverfront property.

“I feel so lucky,” she says with eerie cheerfulness, eerie because we are about venture into the dark side of the idle rich. What you’ve heard about this film and so far garnered from this review will ill-prepare you for how believably Haley Bennett brings this unlikely compulsion to life. A palpable sense of perversity practically radiates from this screen, causing the enraptured viewer to worry of its contagion.

In a later twisted and harrowing development, we learn of our heroine’s sad and terrible origin. And so a film with a tagline like “open up” and a title like Swallow and which could conceivably been a forgettable piece of formulaic schlock, turns out be a mesmerizing masterpiece, a sad koan to mental illness, a portrait of a truly tormented soul for whom we feel endlessly, longing for a cure, longing for some peace.

Today is May 12th, 2020, and Swallow is currently streaming on various VOD streaming services.

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