I stepped into the theater without seeing a single trailer for this film. The lights came down and I sat, having no clue what to expect. It was The Swerve after all, so I presumed a scene involving a car wreck. What I wasn’t expecting was for the whole film to be a wreck in its own way. The swerve isn’t just something that happens to the main character. It pushes the audience into wave after wave of varying emotions.
What begins as a khaki story paints itself with depth until its Technicolor end. Stories like this aren’t the most complicated to come up with, but the execution is critical. That’s where director Dean Kapsalis gets it right.
It is the story of Holly (Azura Skye), the modern woman. She has a loving husband, two kids, a career, and close family nearby. But The Swerve isn’t here to show you what her neighbors would see. Instead, we’re treated to the horrific underbelly of the modern woman’s perfect life.
Most of the beauty here lies in the acting. This is especially the case for Skye, who brings twice as much gravitas to the main character than I could have hoped. There’s something about her performance that echoes one of my favorites: Toni Collette in Hereditary. Haunting is a mother who falls apart. It is heartbreaking and disturbing and rage-inducing to watch.
We hold mothers to an incredibly high standard. They aren't allowed to falter or break composure. They are to put up with the infidelity of their partners and the ungratefulness of their children. The Swerve paints this picture in the form of Holly; a mother first, a woman second, a person last.
The way this film moves is almost unexplainable. The cinematography isn’t something that stands out, which, in this case, is high praise. All technical elements meld perfectly with the storyline. The cuts evoke the feelings of the characters, whether jarring or softly cruising. It left me a bit out of breath, as swerves usually do.
This isn’t a wholly unpredictable film, though it has its shocking moments. I would say more than anything, it really is like watching a car accident. As you wind through the plot of The Swerve, you see the few ways that it could go. Each of these ways is painful to watch, and yet, you don’t turn away.
It's a short experience, but one I would highly recommend.
To the women in my life, as therapy, watch this woman fall apart trying to do it all. Realize that no one can. Feel better. To the men in my life, as education, watch a woman fall apart trying to do what you expect. Watch the women in your life attempt the same. Be gentler on them. Care more.
That’s the true takeaway of The Swerve. And once you’ve experienced it, it’s one that you will likely not forget.
Movie Score: 3.5/5