March 23, 2020

GENRE | 'Swallow'–ing Compulsions of Domestic Control

"Do I make you happy?"
Haley Bennett Austin Stowell Carlo Mirabella-Davis | Swallow
IFC Films / MK2 Mile End
First-time filmmaker Carlo Mirabella-Davis crafts a truly arresting picture starring the absolutely captivating Haley Bennett as a troubled, domesticated '50s-type kept housewife who cannot stop swallowing small household objects in the provocative feminist drama. Swallow is a gorgeously rendered yet haunting portrait of regaining power through compulsion.

Mirabella-Davis frames the deeply psychological film in the context of patriarchal control over female bodies. Bennett as Hunter, the perfect young blonde and newly pregnant trophy wife, manifests her physical rejection of her domesticity by ingesting different, seemingly random items in a disturbing ritual of consuming her own meaningless possessions.

In the film, swallowing is a twisted way of reclaiming her own power and agency from Hunter's sheltered life as her controlling husband (a generically handsome Austin Stowell) and wealthy in-laws (the perfectly flighty Elizabeth Marvel and authoritative David Rasche) covet her beauty and youth.

Haley Bennett Carlo Mirabella-Davis | Swallow

Bennett is so disturbing in her sickly sweet and precise role as her rare eating disorder (known as pica) manifests itself into other disturbing behaviour repressed from her vague past history of trauma.

Cinematographer Katelin Arizmendi's starkly lush visuals only further highlight the contrast between her perfect-looking life and a clearly dark psychological undercurrent. Her obsession with happiness cannot hide the troubling nature of her suppressed true feelings.

The intensely constructed Swallow maximizes its unnerving suspense through meticulous production design and Bennett's towering breakout performance. Using idealized domestic imagery of luxury, Mirabella-Draves constructs the arthouse film as a thrilling psychodrama about having the perfect life on the outside.

Swallow is available to stream on various digital platforms and through video on demand.

More | YVArcade / AV Club / Indiewire / THR

0 reactions:

Post a Comment