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SWEPT AWAY

Some might go to Guy Ritchie’s misbegotten remake of Lina Wertmüller’s distressing and hilarious 1974 masterpiece, Travolti da un insolito destino nell’azzurro mare d’agosto ("Swept Away . . . by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August"), only to see his wife, Madonna, get her ass kicked. Rather than explore the roots of misogyny, as did the original, the new version may just encourage it.

As Amber Leighton, the charmless rich bitch who tyrannizes Giuseppe (Adriano Giannini, son of Giancarlo, who played the role in the original), a macho sailor serving on board her rented yacht in the Mediterranean, Madonna is shrill and vapid. Later, when she and Pepe are stranded on a deserted island and he slaps her around and she falls in love with him, she’s merely vapid. By the third bliss montage backed by a pop song, it’s clear that Ritchie has no ambition to duplicate Wertmüller’s shrewd dissection of the dynamics of power, sex, and property. Neither has he much interest, it seems, in improving his wife’s reputation as an actress; never has she been so wooden. Vulgar where it should be perverse, mawkish where it should be moving, and eliciting laughter in all the wrong places, this camp classic demonstrates what happens when vanity sweeps away good taste and common sense. (82 minutes)

BY PETER KEOUGH

Issue Date: October 17 - October 24, 2002
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