Swept Away [2002]

Madonna gives her most believable performance as Amber, a rich woman on a sea cruise who expects the world to obey her every whim. She and a high-spirited crew member (Adriano Giannini) are marooned on a small deserted island; the feud that sprang up between the two on the ship becomes an all-out war, then transforms into lustful desire as Amber finds that losing status opens up a new side to herself. Some people will want to see Swept Away for the simple pleasure of seeing Madonna be slapped; more demanding filmgoers will, sadly, be left wanting. Though the movie purports to be a satirical examination of capitalism (as was the original 1974 version), its vague discussion of money and power adds up to very little. The love story is surprisingly sincere, making Swept Away a standard romantic potboiler with gorgeous tropical backdrops. --Bret Fetzer

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