What’s so bad about being stranded on a deserted island with Madonna and a handsome Italian? Guy Ritchie’s remake of the Italian film Swept Away is a romantic drama about two opposite people who are able to transform their passionate hate into love upon realizing money cannot transcend happiness. Filled with underlying allusions about society and class structure, Swept Away touches on the important issues in American life.
Forty-year-old Amber Leighton (Madonna) plays a beautiful, spoiled, wealthy and incredibly arrogant woman. On her birthday, her husband surprises her with a private cruise from Greece to Italy. Anthony Leighton (Bruce Greenwood) passively accommodates his wife, whose dissatisfaction and rage at seemingly everything renders her unable to be happy.
Among the guests are two other couples and a group of three ship members, most notably the handsome first mate Guiseppe Esposito (Adriano Gianni).
Esposito, referred to by Leighton by terms like “Peepee,” “nature boy,” “monkey boy” and “Guido” must hold back his hostility toward her. He refers to her as “the lizard,” but remembers that his job is to smile.
When Amber insists Guiseppe take her to a group of caves within a remote island at sea, his worst nightmare becomes reality when their motor stops and leaves them stranded.
On the deserted island they discover they hate each other. As a result they separate, each fending for themselves. It is not long until Amber realizes she cannot survive without Guiseppe, and must obey when he says “I am the master, you are the slave.”
The class split is erased when the two realize their hate has always been a deep love. This love will be tested as the story unfolds.
Despite a high profile cast and its address of important societal issues, Swept Away falls short of “sweeping” the audience off their feet.
The diverse characters and their witty humor make light of the serious issues in the film. Swept Away is an interesting allegory about the corruption of classes and does make an effort to show love is the only way to find happiness.
Although the relationship between Amber and Guiseppe is ultimately convincing, the quick and unexplained transition is not. Overall Swept Away is a thoughtful film, which addresses important issues while providing a few good laughs.