Swung

Review by Josh Slater-Williams @jslaterwilliams

Directed by

Colin Kennedy

Starring

Elena Anaya Elizabeth McGovern Owen McDonnell

Anticipation.

After Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In, the chance to see Elena Anaya in another lead role is very appealing.

Enjoyment.

Swing and a miss.

In Retrospect.

Eyes Wide Shit.

This Glasgow based sex odyssey offers little more than soap opera erotica.

Director Colin Kennedy’s debut feature tackles a novel subject: people in Glasgow having sex without the aid of Scarlett Johansson turning up in a van.

Unlike Under the Skin, this adaptation of Ewan Morrison’s 2007 novel follows thirtysomething couple David (Owen McDonnell) and Alice (Elena Anaya), whose floundering love life (the film opens with an erectile dysfunction joke) provokes excursions into unfamiliar sexual territory, namely the world of swinging.

Both have different motives. Alice is looking for a story for her magazine job, where she’s struggling to stand out. Meanwhile, David is an unemployed designer who’s not trusted to look after his daughter by his ex-wife. Feelings of inadequacy in other areas of life lead to impotency in the bedroom. He finds that watching other people have sex – though not necessarily joining in with the swinging strangers – temporarily subdues his medical issue. As the pair’s relationship is pushed to more extreme limits, Alice emerges as the more likely to venture into the unknown; a hotel orgy presided over by enigmatic matron Dolly Adams (Elizabeth McGovern), whose recently departed real-life inspiration receives a dedication in the closing credits.

Being a drama about a middle class couple who become estranged through perverse sexual encounters, Swung can’t help but call to mind Eyes Wide Shut. In execution, however, Swung is a lethargic, dour affair running on risible dialogue, stiff performances, eye-rolling visual gags (in one scene David watches a YouTube video about erectile dysfunction while peeling carrots). Worse still, its transgressive subject matter ultimately gives way to a disappointingly conservative streak.

Published 8 Dec 2015

Anticipation.

After Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In, the chance to see Elena Anaya in another lead role is very appealing.

Enjoyment.

Swing and a miss.

In Retrospect.

Eyes Wide Shit.

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