Swept Away (2002 film)

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Swept Away
Swept away.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Guy Ritchie
Produced by Matthew Vaughn
Written by Guy Ritchie
Based on Swept Away 
by Lina Wertmüller
Music by Michel Colombier
Cinematography Alex Barber
Edited by Eddie Hamilton
  • CODI SpA
  • Ska Films
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 11 October 2002 (2002-10-11) (United States)
  • 12 May 2003 (2003-05-12) (United Kingdom)
  • 23 May 2003 (2003-05-23) (Italy)
Running time
89 minutes[1]
  • United Kingdom
  • Italy
  • English
  • Greek
  • Italian
Budget $10 million[2]
Box office $1 million[2]

Swept Away is a 2002 British-Italian romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Guy Ritchie. The film is a remake of Lina Wertmüller's 1974 Italian film of the same name. The film stars Ritchie's then-wife Madonna and Adriano Giannini (the son of Giancarlo Giannini, the actor who played the role in the original film) with a supporting cast featuring Bruce Greenwood, Jeanne Tripplehorn, and Elizabeth Banks.

Produced by Matthew Vaughn and released theatrically by Screen Gems, the film received extremely negative reviews and was a box office bomb.


Amber Leighton (Madonna) is 40: beautiful, rich, spoiled, foul-mouthed and arrogant beyond measure. Nothing makes this woman happy, including her wealthy but passive husband, Tony (Bruce Greenwood), a pharmaceutical kingpin.

When Tony takes her on a private cruise from Greece to Italy with two other couples, Amber is unimpressed by this impromptu no-frills vacation and takes out her anger on the ship's first mate, Giuseppe Esposito (Adriano Giannini). When a storm leaves the two shipwrecked on a deserted island, however, the tables suddenly turn, with Giuseppe gaining the upper hand, followed by the two falling in love.



The film's working title was Love, Sex, Drugs and Money[3] and was filmed in Sardinia and Malta from 1 October 2001 until 9 November 2001 with security increased due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.[4] Madonna had only finished her 2001 Drowned World Tour two weeks prior to filming. Giancarlo Giannini's son Adriano Giannini plays his original film role.


Box office[edit]

Swept Away was a box office bomb; from a $10 million budget, it grossed $598,645 in the United States and around $437,875 from foreign territories for a worldwide total of $1,036,520.[2] It was shown only on 196 screens for two weeks, dropping down to 59 in the final third week of release. In Italy, it grossed €71,575 and in Spain €105,371 from 174 screens.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received extremely negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes currently holds a 5% rating, based on 78 reviews, with an average rating of 2.8/10. The site's consensus states: "Muddled and lacking the political context of the original, Swept Away offers further proof that Madonna can't act."[6] Metacritic reports an 18 out of 100 rating, based on 27 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike".[7]

Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, who called the original Swept Away an "absorbing movie" that he bestowed with a 4-out-of-4 star rating,[8] gave the remake only 1 star.[9] According to Ebert, despite Ritchie's relatively faithful adaptation, the original Swept Away was "incomparably superior," and the remake's fatal flaw was the "utterly missing" vitality or emotional resonance of the main characters. Additionally, wrote Ebert, Madonna's character "starts out so hateful that she can never really turn it around" and gain any redemption or believable change. Similarly, A.O. Scott[10] of the New York Times wrote, "In her concerts, music videos and recordings, Madonna has often been a mesmerizing performer, but she is still not much of an actress. Striking a pose is not the same as embodying a person, and a role like this one requires the surrender of emotional control, something Madonna seems constitutionally unable to achieve." In his otherwise negative review of the film, Slant Magazine critic Ed Gonzalez said: "Madonna gives her best performance since Abel Ferrara had her beaten to a pulp in his Dangerous Game."[11]

"The way critics take it out on me now is to have a go at anything me and Guy do together," Madonna remarked about the negative critical reaction. "Everyone in England has slagged it off without having seen it. Isn't that beautiful? Don't you think that's absurd? But I think the knives were going to come out for Guy anyway, even if he hadn't ended up with me. He had too much success with his first two films. That's how the media is: eventually they have to pull you down."[12] When the studio screened the film for Wertmüller, director of the original film, it is alleged that Wertmüller left the theatre at the end crying out, "What did they do to my movie? Why [did] they do this?"


The film was awarded five awards at the 2002 Golden Raspberry Awards. Additionally, Madonna won Worst Supporting Actress that same year (for Die Another Day).

In addition, the film was nominated for Worst Screenplay (written by Ritchie), and Giannini for Worst Actor. The film holds the distinction of being the first film to win both Worst Picture and Worst Remake or Sequel.


Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: Swept Away
Soundtrack album by Michel Colombier
Released 15 October 2002 (2002-10-15)
Length 43:28
Label Varèse Sarabande
Guy Ritchie film soundtracks chronology
Swept Away

The score to Swept Away was composed by Michel Colombier, and it is mostly his work that is featured on the 12-track soundtrack album. The soundtrack also contain several songs by other artists. "Come-On-a-My-House", sung by Della Reese, is the only one featured on the album.[13]

Songs from the film not featured on the album include "Lovely Head" by Goldfrapp (played during the opening credits), "Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens" by Louis Jordan (the charades scene), and "Fade into You" by Mazzy Star (as Amber and Pepe experience life on the island together). Arvo Pärt's "Spiegel im Spiegel" plays during the closing moments and end credits of the film.

Home media[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the film was released straight-to-video by Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment. The DVD special features include a filmmakers' commentary with Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn, an interview with Ritchie and Madonna, sixteen deleted scenes, Movie Special (making of), theatrical trailers, and filmographies.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "SWEPT AWAY (15)". British Board of Film Classification. October 15, 2002. Retrieved November 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Swept Away at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ imdb.com Swept Away
  4. ^ http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/2001/0930/top1.html
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Swept Away (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Swept Away reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 November 2015. 
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (20 February 1976). "Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (2002). Swept Away review, retrieved 25 August 2014
  10. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9D05E7DA173AF932A25753C1A9649C8B63
  11. ^ Slant Magazine - Film Review: Swept Away
  12. ^ Rees, Paul: 'Listen very carefully, I will say this only once', Q, May 2003, pp84-92
  13. ^ "Swept Away (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Michel Colombier". iTunes Store. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  14. ^ Ulaby, Neda (3 September 2004). "'Swept Away' — Twice". NPR. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 

External links[edit]