Review by L.C. Cragg
Set in present day, but with chilling overtones of 1950’s themes of female objectification and the subservient role of women, Director/ Writer, Carlo Mirabella-Davis with Swallow delivers a grippingly eerie tale of one women’s obsession as she searches for an escape from her seemingly idyllic life.
Every scene holds psychological undertones from the discord of Hunter’s (Haley Bennett) desire to please her husband and his family, while she copes with a dark lifelong secret.
As Hunter develops a compulsion to swallow objects as a coping mechanism for her entrapment in addition to feeling soul crushing guilt the film’s tension increasingly mounts. Satirical lines and moments provide appropriate relief from uncomfortable realties and plot twists.
The story’s suspense thriller plot-line delivers ever escalating dramatic tension. Each scene holds its own as an important piece of Hunter’s journey.
The minimalist dialogue in some scenes with much well-acted body language, reveal each character’s true agenda and fears. In only a few scenes, where the audience has already connected the dots, the dialogue is too “on the nose” but the dramatic tension and action intercede before the pace of the storytelling is lost. The use of landscape cinematography is well executed and placed as the audience in some cases requires time to process Hunter’s pain and her dangerous situation. The lovely soundtrack appropriately enhances an already solid story line.
As a warped fairy-tale, Swallow is a refreshing and thought provoking take on female perspectives and realities of beauty, guilt, and repression while championing how to take back control of one’s life, no matter what the challenges and consequences. Themes of submission, manipulation and entrapment, are adeptly woven to deliver a uniquely unpredictable resolution.
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