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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> May 2000 >> Swimming with Sharks

Swimming with Sharks

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
3 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
May 2000
IMDB Name:
Swimming with Sharks (1994)
George Huang
MPAA Rating:
R for some scenes of psychological/physical torture and pervasive strong language.

Sinister Spacey

Kevin Spacey is something of a hot property right now, considering the aftermath of his part in American Beauty. Swimming with Sharks is hardly the most famous entry in his filmography, but it's another opportunity to see him play the cold son-of-a-bee. He lights into the demented, power-mad boss routine quite well, projecting that magic air of manipulativeness that sells him as such a pain to work for. Glengarry Glen Ross was another movie with Spacey as the sinister boss, but that time he played it cold, and this time it's very hot. The only question in my mind at this point would be who writer-director George Huang's Buddy Ackerman was. It's hard to imagine that he wrote this without picturing himself as beleaguered assistant Guy. Actually, I have another question. To try to hate the Buddy and strike him down is to come over to The Dark Side. Is Huang happier there?

Bitter Humor

There are apparently those who consider Swimming with Sharks to be a comedy. I have some difficulty with that, because there's very little that's funny about watching someone being tortured, no matter what he's done to earn it. Unless the creativity of Buddy's debasement of Guy counts for humor, then this movie can inspire only the most twisted of laughter, presumably by those who until very recently were putting up with an awful lot from a Buddy. Of course, there's also the hideous irony in the final plot twist, but that didn't elicit even a suggestion of a chuckle from me.

Guy and Dawn

I knew I'd seen both Guy and Dawn before, but I had extraordinary difficulty pinning them down. Frank Whaley was the roommate in The Freshman. Michelle Forbes was trickier because it's a role I haven't seen in so long: Ensign Ro Laren in "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

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