Netflix Finds

Swimming With the Sharks - Netflix Finds Movie Review

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Swimming With the Sharks - Movie Review

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A Netflix Finds Review

3 Stars

The 1990s belonged to Kevin Spacey. He may not have delivered blockbusters like some of the other top draws of the 90s, but what Spacey lacked in box office receipts, he more than made up for with thunderous applause from critics and audiences. While most of the 2000s were spent with Spacey trying repeatedly to recapture his fire, 90s Spacey provides a clear indication of how dynamic an actor he can, and most certainly still is.

Most people know Spacey for his Oscar winning performance in the Best Picture winner American Beauty, as they should, it's a fantastic dramedy about real life, even if it does get a bit cheesy at times. But for diehard Spacey fans, Swimming With the Sharks is where you should start. As Buddy Akerman, Spacey submerges himself in the role of a high octane, over the top studio executive. His insults are brutal. His tone is overpowering. If there was any question as to why Spacey's career ever took off - let Sharks be the answer.

Frank Whaley plays Guy, a movie lover from his diaper days who scores the much loathed position of Akerman's assistant - a position relenquished by Benicio Del Toro's Rex at the start of the film. At first it seems understandably overwhelming for Guy, who struggles with the mundane tasks of getting Buddy's coffee a specific way (Sweet N' Low is not the same as Equal folks). But soon it evolves into a more deep rooted hatred as Buddy steals ideas and takes complete credit for Guy's hard work. Whaley's portrayal of Guy is rather subdued, nothing to officially write home about, but it's a perfect counter to Spacey's over-the-top Buddy. His name alone elicits a contradiction to his motives, "Buddy" your "pal," your "friend," very much the opposite of what Akerman is.

Swimming With The Sharks bites with satire, which is not to say this is a gut buster. It's the type of humor you shake your head at, not because its so disgusting, but because it's so shocking at how true it likely is. Hollywood is often times considered a cesspool of deceit and corruption, and Sharks feeds into this image and attempts to expose the truth about it. It's a futile attempt ultimately. The film uses flashback to explain the events leading up to a murder, a darkly comedic approach to film but nevertheless an effective one. However, no one believes that Hollywood is innocent to begin with, so no new ground is broken with Sharks. This is a satirical vehicle strictly for Spacey's acting chops. He's chewed through scenes like no other actor of his generation and with Sharks you see a clear glimpse of character dominance. It would not surprise me at all if Sharks was not the inspiration for Spacey's casting in Horrible Bosses last year.

The 90s were kind, indeed, to Spacey. Two Oscars under his belt (The Usual Suspects, American Beauty), iconic roles in LA Confidential, SeVen, and Glengarry Glen Ross, not to mention subtle performances in The Ref, The Negotiator, and even a hysterical bit in Working Girl. Swimming With the Sharks is not the most profound film as far as plot goes, and none of the other performances resonate quite like Spacey's. But the film contains some of Spacey's best work, a blisteringly honest depiction of corrupted power in Tinseltown.

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Swimming With the Sharks - Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: R for some scenes of psychological/physical torture and pervasive strong language.
Director
: George Huang
Writer
: George Huang
Cast: Kevin Spacey; Frank Whaley; Michelle Forbes; Benicio Del Toro; T.E. Russell; Roy Dotrice
Genre
: Comedy | Crime | Drama
Tagline:
In Hollywood all his dreams could come true... But first he has to make coffee.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I told you, it's gotta be loud loud loud! The audience should feel their balls tremble, their ears should bleed!"
Distributor:
Lions Gate Home Entertainment
Theatrical Release Date:
March 25, 1995
Link to Netflix:
Swimming With the Sharks

Synopsis: A young, naive Hollywood studio assistant finally turns the tables on his incredibly abusive producer boss.

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