***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
Wow! I never would have expected that I'd get anywhere close to 100 likes on this…
When you talk about "The Swimmer" will you talk about yourself?
Neddy Merrill has been away for most of the Summer. He reappears at a friend's pool. As they talk, someone notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley. He decided to jog from pool to pool to swim the whole valley. As he stops in each pool his interactions tell his life story.
The opening shot pans over luscious green trees to reveal the youthful looking back of a man diving into a rich blue swimming pool. Burt Lancaster emerges out the over end, tanned, lean and defying every bit of his 55 years. He spends every minute of the film wearing nothing but his swimming trunks, looking great and knowing it, an appearance that ripples away as easily as the pools he dives into.
Journeying with Ned through the connecting hills of white upper middle-class suburbia lifts the lid on those who seem to have it all. Broken marriages, secret lovers, racism and shallow parenting lie buried underneath a glittering veneer of expense.
At times it's a strange and surreal approach used…
As a pointed commentary on "modern living" (b/w some sly scuttlebutt about the gulf between haves and have-nots), as a sympathetic yet unflinching depiction of a man's misspent life, as an embodiment of his fractured delusions, as a cautionary tale about the poisonous allure of nostalgia, as a possibly accidental case of form mirroring function (cf. the mismatched cuts serving to reflect Merrill's addled state of mind), and most definitely as a testament to Burt Lancaster's ability to simultaneously embody virility and vulnerability, this film is 99.99.99% perfect.
I just cannot get over how much I love The Swimmer.
Especially the opening.
I remember seeing it for the first time. I could sense that I was in for something special. I just knew I was about to fall madly in love.
The fluidity of that camera!
The lightness of Lancaster’s step that stands in juxtaposition to the strength of his body. He’s old and young at once. There's something curious about his movements, like a boy who’s exploring the last summer of his childhood. A new day has begun, and it is begging to be discovered with all senses.
But something’s looming over those woods, something in the air feels off, a darkness that's following him like the…
I'm not a huge fan of Burt Lancaster. If you were ask me why, I wouldn't really have an answer. He doesn't annoy me, I have no complaints about his acting, he looks okay in swimming trunks(This is off topic, but I'd love to see Lancaster from this film and Kirk Douglas from The Fury (1978) battle it out). I have nothing bad to say about him and, yet, I dunno, I'm just not feeling it.
I say this quite often but for someone who has seen thousands of films, I still have a glaring gap in my viewing. I had not seen The Swimmer before nor did I really have any knowledge about it, apart from my husband telling…
The Swimmer is a film often cited as being 'surreal', yet I've always thought that was a pretty easy catch-all term for a film that is actually not that surreal at all.
It's strange, certainly, but I think that a lot about films made around this era. The late 1960s are a period of film that fascinate me, caught in a semi-limbo between Hays Code restrictions and straining at the leash to portray something more adult and free. The Swimmer feels like that too - sexually expressive but not explicit, taboo teasing but never baiting. It's an odd film that, arguably, fits its time better than it would fit any other time in cinema history.
Any semblance of surreality here…
The Swimmer is a bewitchingly hallucinatory experience, which starts off as a fun adventure and progresses into a character unravelling step by step and pool by pool to the point of disintegration.
Burt Lancaster is magnetic and searing in a phenomenal performance, and pulls off a film spent entirely in his swimming trunks.
Through Lancaster, The Swimmer evolves into a terrible souring of the American dream. A very 60s revelatory experience with an echo that wont leave your mind.
I don't know what I feel about this movie and I can only say that I that that's a good thing. I can sense there is something deeper being achieved here but as of now cannot pinpoint what that is.
The Swimmer is an overlooked masterpiece. How Burt Lancaster's incredible performance didn't receive an Oscar nomination is beyond me. Essential viewing.
There is something totally ill-at-ease about The Swimmer, but engrossingly so. Burt Lancaster's bizarre, seemingly insouciant misadventure - where he is "swimming home" via his neighbour's pools - steadily reveals itself to be a quietly disturbing tale concerning self-deception and existential trauma.
This will definitely require a couple more viewings before it clicks completely.
Based on the short story by John Cheever, Frank Perry’s acclaimed cult classic, The Swimmer, is the very definition of a film that was way ahead of its time. Released in 1968, it is a haunting and dream-like experience - a summer nightmare that lingers in the mind.
When we first meet middle-aged Ned Merrill (the legendary Burt Lancaster), he appears out of nowhere in a swimsuit, uninvited, at a pool party in the middle of an upper class suburb. Everyone seems to be happy to see him. We soon realize that these people are his friends. They entertain Ned by making idle chit-chat about the night before, how they drank too much and how they are now nursing hangovers…
The movie itself was okay, but the cinematography was good, there were some pretty good shots throughout the movie that were very eye catching.
'The Stunt Man' meets 'Homeward Bound'... meets 'Tokyo Story'?!?
I can now see why this was both a movie I don't think I had ever heard mentioned only a year ago, and a movie that I've heard a ton of love for in the past year. The Swimmer is such a strange, high concept cult film that was made in the late sixties starring Burt Lancaster who's in a swimsuit (or less) for the entire movie, and though he was in his mid-50s at the time looks amazing.
Lancaster plays a man who seemingly had everything he could've needed, but now after a trauma in his personal life, while visiting old friends looks across the valley to his house and decides that he's going to "swim home." He will…
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Amazing score, terrific cinematography, decent acting for the era it was made and a very interesting execution of narrative. Those are the pros for this film. All else was met with a bit more to've been wanted. Basically a metaphoric journey for the loss of man's control over his own life, as well as his place in social hierarchy. The story told to explain this theme is very intriguing to say the least. The entire film is basically a transparent build up to a huge twist at its end. Swimming from pool to pool until he arrives home, he meets many people along the way, each one painting one more shade of color to the overall mystery. In this mindset,…
The fifth season of The Sopranos opens with an image of a wild bear intruding upon the family’s carefully kept yard. It ends with a paired one, as Tony, fleeing an FBI raid upon the McMansion of fellow boss Johnny Sack, stumbles his way through the exurban woods bridging their two houses and back into his own kingdom, where his winterized pool sits frosty and unused. This passage seems to draw some serious inspiration from Perry’s 1968 film, which charts a similar Odyssean journey in miniature, contemplating the strictures of suburbia through the lens of a middle-aged male protagonist flailing mightily on his own home turf.
The thematic thrust of this story, with the male’s role as protector and provider…
***EDIT (March 30, 2014)***
Every film Roger Ebert has given a four-star rating. This is an ongoing project.
Found these lists (twelve total which I've compiled) a couple years back and they slowly became my bible for weird…