Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) has turned his life around since he was busted for taking drugs. He has not only become the college swimming champion, but has a happy personal life with his beautiful girlfriend Amy Miller (Shiri Appleby). A one-night stand with new girl Madison Bell (Erika Christensen) turns into a nightmare, when she pursues him relentlessly, even though he has told her it was a big mistake.
Review by Louise Keller:
A top notch thriller thatís young, sexy and terrifying, Swimfan is an evocative and stimulating story about obsession. In his first US directing role, John Polson displays a natural feel for creating mood Ė from erotic to terror Ė and never opts for overkill or melodrama. In fact one of the best things about the film is that the suspense is always maintained by showing just enough, but not too much. A perfect example of this is the crucial scene when the police car stops at the train line for the train to pass. Itís a beautifully directed scene, and while we are perfectly clear on what has happened, it is mostly left to our imagination. The power of the imagination can never be over-rated, and when we are imagining what the characters are imagining, a frenzy of fear begins to pollinate. A cross between Play Misty for Me and Fatal Attraction, Swimfan establishes the key characters quickly, and when Ben and Madison meet for the first time, we know from the electricity in the air, that an intense relationship is about to begin. We instantly know that Benís mind is anywhere but on his swimming, as Madison pursues him, like a wild animal on heat following the scent of her prey. Itís perfect casting with Jesse Bradford ideal as the tall, dark, good-looking swimming champ whose perfect life disintegrates before his eyes, and Erika Christensen, mesmerising as the possessed huntress. Itís an assured and dazzling performance by the 20 year old actress who came into prominence for her role in Traffic. Itís to her credit that she manages to make Madison a sympathetic character, when she so easily could have become a caricature. Music plays a crucial role, and through the disquieting mix of rhythms and styles comes a crescendo that takes our breath away. Part of what makes the film so menacing is the fact that the evolution of the plot hinges on such simple things. It starts with a physical attraction and an indiscretion, but itís the little things like a hairclip and a sprig of wild flowers that eat into our psyche. A dip in the deep end of terror, Swimfan is a cool and classy chiller that never lets up.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Welcome to big-time, mainstream filmmaking, John Polson. Swimfan is as accomplished and controlled as a veteranís attempt at the genre of youth thriller Ė better than many. If this is Polsonís calling card in Hollywood, heíll need a second phone to handle all the offers. The target market is 18 Ė 25, but I doubt that the film really has a cutoff age. The stars may be college kids, but the subject matter is as adult as you can get: the temptations of the flesh are unleashed by a slightly crazed, overtly determined young woman and a one-night swim turns into an ocean of trouble. Itís been described (in that glib, over-simplified manner of cyncical filmbiz types) as Fatal Attraction for youngsters; like most simple labels, itís a bit misleading and a half-truth. But Swimfan does have a similar dramatic impact as that now almost classic film. The two central characters are wonderfully clear and multi layered, the script is tight, the score is excellent and the editing snappy but with room to breathe Ė and Polsonís direction is both powerful and subtle. He has also kept an eye on the clock and brought the film in at just the length it requires.
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JOHN POLSON INTERVIEW by Andrew L. Urban
JESSE BRADFORD INTERVIEW by Andrew L. Urban
SOUNDTRACK REVIEW by Brad Green
CAST: Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby, Kate Burton, Clayne Crawford, Dan Hedaya
PRODUCER: Joseph M. Caracciolo Jr, John Penotti, Allison Lyon Segan
DIRECTOR: John Polson
SCRIPT: Charles F. Bohl, Phillip Schneider
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Giles Nuttgens
EDITOR: Sarah Flack
MUSIC: John Debney, Louis Febre
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Kalina Ivanov
RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Icon
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 10, 2002