When "Swept Away" was released in American theaters last fall it was savaged by critics and dubbed one of the biggest flops of the year. It is important to remember that "Swept Away" was never intended by Guy Ritchie and company to have the same box office as "Spiderman". "Swept Away" is basically a vacation picture for Guy Ritchie and wife Madonna, it was not intended to win any oscars. The budget was quite small, so nobody lost money...unlike say Eddie Murphy's "Pluto Nash" which cost 100 million, and only took in 15 million.
The movie is not nearly as bad as say "Ishtar" or "Shangi Surprise" that being said it is still not a great cinematic masterpiece. Much has been said about Madonna's performence, that she was wooden and simply cannot act (she is better than Ben Afflect any day!), which is not true. In the first third of the film, she does quite well as Amber, a spoiled American, who is the wife of a pharmaceutical big shot. She is rude, ignorant, and petulant, I have dealt with many a woman like this and Madonna does a great job here. The supporting cast does a good job here too, giving us an idea of Amber world as well as the ships mate fisherman Pepe (Adriano Gianini)-who also does a decent job here in his first English speaking role.
In the remainder of the film, Madonna's quasi English accent appears (which is odd here, well it is always odd..) since she is supposed to be American here. She is a tad unanimated once Amber and Pepe are rescued, which may be the fault of Richie's script and direction-other directors have gotten better performences out of Madonna (Penny Marshall, Warren Beatty).
That being said, the film is beautiful to look at. Ritchie choice of Malta as a film location was well selected, as it is one of the most breathtakingly stunning films to watch. Madonna also looks stunning here, even sans makeup, all those years of yoga, a vegetarian diet, and clean living have paid off here! Gianini is also, while unkempt, quite fit and pairs nicely with Madonna, though in the fight scenes I think Madonna could beat the pants off of him, her biceps are bigger than his.
All in all the film is worth watching, the small budget shows, Ritchie's script could have used more polish, but it is worth viewing, with an open mind. Viewers may be pleasently surprised that this film is much better than the press said.
The DVD is a great value: it features the film, 16 deleted scenes, The Making of Swept Away special, and trailers.
I would recommend "Swept Away" for people who like, odd, art house style flicks.