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Swept Away
Buy the DVD  Barnes & Noble.com
Genre:Comedy
Year:2002
Rating:R
Length:1 Hour 29 Minutes

This critically lambasted movie is not the unmitigated disaster you might have been led to believe; it's actually a creditable remake of the 1975 Lina Wertmuller film of the same title. This new version, directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch), follows the original rather closely. Madonna (Ritchie's wife, in case you've been living in a cave) stars as Amber Leighton, a spoiled socialite who accompanies her husband and two other couples on a private excursion from Greece to Italy. Cast adrift in a dinghy with Giuseppe (Adriano Giannini), an unkempt and apparently dull-witted deckhand, Amber winds up on a deserted island and is forced to rely on the survival skills of the boorish sailor she loathes. There's nothing new about this plot; it was old hat even when the original Swept Away was filmed, and Wertmuller has rarely acknowledge her debt to James Barrie's similarly themed The Admirable Crichton, itself an oft-filmed fable. Ritchie's remake lacks the political edge and trenchant social commentary of the 1975 film, but it does offer a formidable screen presence in Madonna, whose performance is by no means the travesty it was made out to be by cynically vengeful critics. It's true that her assiduously cultivated image gets in the way, but it's also true that there's probably more of Amber in her than she would care to admit. Giannini, whose father essayed the role in the Wertmuller's original, manages to hold his own opposite Madonna, and the inevitable romantic clinches certainly produce plenty of sparks. If not quite a classic, Swept Away is definitely worth owning: Madonna still cuts an impressive figure onscreen, and this carefully produced remake provides her with ample opportunities to dazzle her audience. Ed Hulse

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