Saturday, April 11, 2015

Stephan Brenninkmeijer - Swingers (2002)


Put four people in one room and let tension run high. It has been done before in film history, but when it's done well, it can produce 'Big Cinema'. 'Swingers' is at times 'Big Cinema'. It's Brenninkmeijer's second feature and he turns out to be a great actor's director and writer of sharp dialog. A film like 'Swingers', with only four characters, stands or falls with the acting. And although it's their first major role in a feature film, all four play out their characters very well. Ellen van der Koogh plays a beautiful but insecure woman; Danny de Kok is like a young puppy who gets let loose in the woods for the first time; Nienke Brinkhuis is the unsatisfiable self and Joep Sertons plays the quite husband who seems to be at ease with his swinging situation. Especially the first part of Swingers is mouthwatering. It starts with Julian who screams up his confidence while shaving but it really starts to get interesting from the moment Timo and Alex arrive at the house. How to act when you meet your date for the first time knowing you will have some steamy moments with for the weekend?

The first clumsy moves are hysterical. While sitting uncomfortably in the livingroombench, they are overly interested in their daily work and professions and the words 'cosy' are spoken before it really had a chance to set in. Every once and a while Diana escapes to the kitchen to get more drinks an Julian follows to give her a hand. Fortunately they have picked an awesome house to play their game. A house were a swimmingpool and a sauna are commonplace. Alex takes the initiative and soon they are skinnydipping to get things started were they have come for. The biggest credit you can give 'Swingers´ is the way in which the emotional balance shifts gradually. Those who started out vulnerable evolve more secure while the others use their self-consciousness to shield themselves for the truth. The way the characters throw each other glances, the things they say, the mindgames they play: it's all as subtle as it is venomous. Although the film gets a bit slow at the point of the 'Big Moment' and 'the morning after', it doesn't hide the fact that with 'Swingers', Brenninkmeijer delivered a film of international standing.

Subtitles:English, Russian