Friday, May 25, 2018

DVDebut for Colin Kennedy and Ewan Morrison's 2015 swinging-sex movie, SWUNG

Other than Paul Mazursky's Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice there have been very few films of much worth that addressed the "swingers" scene, either back in the 1960s-70s, when this sort-of trend drew some notoriety, or even more recently. (Of course, it's still going on -- and probably always has been.) All of which makes the DVD debut of a pretty good movie titled SWUNG worth noting.

With a screenplay by Ewan Morrison (based on his
popular novel), directed by Colin Kennedy (shown at left) and starring Spanish actress Elena Anaya, the movie, up until its final scene, does a fine job of introducing us to the swingers scene in Scotland circa 2015 (the year the film first appeared) and especially of allowing us to see how that kind of polyamorous sexuality can add zest to an intimate relationship, as well as sending it wildly out of balance.

Our leading twosome, Alice (Ms Anaya) and David (Owen McDonnell), are currently going through a lot of problems. David is separated from his wife (with a divorce pending) and only rarely sees his beloved little daughter; he has lost his design business, is now unemployed and finding it difficult to navigate the maze of Britain's unemployment benefits; and he is mostly impotent -- which makes his relationship with Alice increasingly problematic.

We really do feel for this poor guy, and McDonnell's performance is encompassing enough to easily pull us in, as is that of Anaya, one of Spain's better actresses who has made a number of English-language movies at this point in her career. This couple seems intelligent, genuine, even funny -- the latter trait rather vital, since, as they are told at least twice during the film, a sense of humor is necessary for good sex among swingers.

How Alice and David enter this new world, what they make of it and who they meet (above and below) fills up much of the movie, and all of this is at once fascinating, appealing and disturbing. It's believable, too. The details here are specific and sometimes more than a little shocking (the kitchen-table sex scene is a lulu).

Eventually, thanks to Alice's job as journalist, we're introduced midway to a famous sex therapist/ex-madam/ex-sex-worker named Dolly (to whom this film is dedicated) -- played very well by Elizabeth McGovern, below and at bottom, in a stunning platinum wig -- who is able to coach the couple into its best sexual experience yet.

But then, as the movie heads toward its far-too-easily-accessed conclusion, events grow more telescoped than realistic, as David turns from only a middling asshole into a complete one, which pretty much discredits the supposedly positive finale.

This is too bad, since so much of Swung has proven so well handled. What will remain with you, TrustMovies suspects, will likely be some of the excellent earlier scenes rather than the story's silly, thoroughly unearned ending. From Film Movement's Omnibus Entertainment division and running 88 minutes, the movie arrived on DVD this past week -- for purchase and/or rental.

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