Complete list of the films Guillermo del Toro has recommended on twitter. Click the 'Read notes' button to see his…
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.
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…
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'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'm going to have to get back to you on this one.
(But considering how irregularly I do ever get back to you, I'll just say that at the moment I can't choose between how this is an uncomfortable parable or a work of metaphorical genius. The only thing I'm sure of at the moment is that Burt Lancaster is absolutely remarkable, towering over the film with his incredible (52 year old!) physique and his expressive face completely enrapturing me every time the camera closed in on it)
Damn... what a body!
Experimental, weird, and creepy reflection on affluence, status, nature, alcohol, mental deterioration, sexuality, and more. The film looks wonderful, sometimes like stock footage, sometimes realistic, and sometimes hallucinatory, and this only adds to the tone and story as it slowly shifts from happy and friendly to depressing and grim.
The Swimmer is a post event tragedy. Neddy Merrill has already hit rock bottom he just doesn't know it when we first meet him. The neglect of both his personal and professional failings comes forward as an affectation of childlike awe and adventure. The orchestrations throughout beautifully captures this denial, the seemingly upbeat and hopeful piece is punctuated with inserts that suggest something deeply dark lies in the path Ned has taken to the valley.
Lancaster (whom I am sure Michael Fassbender is the reincarnation of) plays hugely off his physicality for this performance. His posture seemingly melting before our eyes as the shroud of self-deception begins to lift and the truth pours in, quite literally in the final scene.…
This film offers a perfect arch of mental decay, something many films attempt but few get as close to perfection as The Swimmer.
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…
Somehow, The Swimmer's tacky and dated affectations only enhance its power. It's uniquely devastating.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
"I'm cold. What's the matter with that sun? There's no heat in it."
A bizzare character and period study that constantly keeps you guessing, 'The Swimmer' provides some of the most poignant commentary of American suburban, white culture without ever being heavy-handed (except maybe that babysitter scene). As Lancaster laps through each neighbor's pool ranging from pompous partiers to elderly nudists, we slowly lean of his background and lifestyle, which he is unable to fully confront. There were some surreal transitions and odd dialogue, but the film is so strange that it really flew by for me. Most of all, I admired the tedious nature of how the people slowly begin to chastise Lancaster.
I liked that Burt Lancaster called The Swimmer, about a man who decides to "swim to home" across the relatively quiet upper-middle class suburbia by taking a swim in each of his neighbors swimming pools (and one rec center), called this "Death of a Salesman in swim trunks." I can still see the connections with the disillusionment of, and a critique by others, of the American (white) middle-class male in the promise of having it "all", but having the connection to Willy Loman and the story of falling so completely from grace and promise (and failing himself repeatedly) marks this as something special in American cinema at the time. And Burt Lancaster, in his 50's by the time he made…
Movies that are slightly off.