Swung DVD review
Here it is folks, the film about the swingers’ scene in Scotland that we’ve all been dying to see.
The story follows David (Owen McDonnell), a bankrupt, out of work graphic designer who is going through a divorce. But don’t feel too sorry for him – he’s got an absolutely gorgeous girlfriend, and lives in a fabulous house. Unfortunately he is a bit of a glass is half empty kind of guy, and all that negative stuff is manifesting itself in a most upsetting way. He can’t get a stiffy.
That is until he registers on a swinging website, and is turned on by the videos of group sex, voyeurism and partner swapping.
His girlfriend Alice (Elena Anaya) is a writer at a lifestyle magazine. For the record, the scenes at her work are among the worst in the film. Alice is under pressure to deliver a story that will help boost the flaccid sales of the magazine. Upon discovering David’s fantasy, she sees an opportunity to write a story about the swinging scene in Glasgow, and also resurrect their sex life in the process. Thus begins our descent into a hidden fantasy world.
Their initial, tentative and awkward steps into this world are actually quite sweet and funny, and have the desired effect. Being chased out of a house by a man with an erection seems to be just what David needed. He and Alice have sex in the street. A train goes thundering by. Yep, it’s that subtle.
As they venture deeper into this new world, things inevitably get more complicated. Elena Anaya – a veteran of Almodovar, and soon to be seen in Wonder Woman is excellent. Far and away the best thing in this film, even though Alice is something of a fantasy herself, as the most open-minded and understanding girlfriend anyone could have. Of course, this understanding nature is soon taken advantage of by David.
The film goes onto explore very familiar territory. We’ve seen it all before in countless films about sex and relationships. The pushing of boundaries. The jealousy. The open-minded fantasy that turns into an intolerant and bitter reality.
The dialogue for the most part is pretty terrible, and at times unintentionally funny. The climax in the “black room” – think Eyes Wide Shut, but in a hotel in Paisley – is laughable. Not sure if it was meant to be funny, but David, fumbling around in the dark, shouting “stop touching me”, really made me laugh.
It’s all very stylishly lit, but then again, so were the films of Tinto Brass. And at least they were meant to be funny.
This review first appeared on Entertainment Focus