For Millennials. By Millennials.

The Song Of Sway Lake Review

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A pursuit of nostalgia and regrets that only occasionally bears fruit. This is entirely what the narrative of The Song of Sway Lake is based upon. The story penned by Ari Gold and Elizabeth Bull has been distended by several good ideas, yet there is not a single cue as to how to include it into the storyline to make for an engaging fable. The story revolves around Ollie (Rory Culkin), a record collector who, with a friend, Nikolai (Robert Sheehan), makes a surreptitious trip to his family’s lakefront summer home in upstate New York.  A few months earlier, Ollie’s father had committed suicide in the icy lake.

The story follows a rare 78 rpm single, a record by Cole Porter’s lover for Ollie’s grandparents’ wedding. Ollie, a music-loving hipster, wants to acquire the unique music disc to preserve the legacy of his father and grandfather. Both of whom had died tragically. The single takes the Sways back to the times when they were well provided; hence it has a strong emotional connection with every member of the family.

Rory Culkin is joined by Mary Beth Peil, who plays his grandmother Charlie Sway. A woman who dwells in the sweet memories of the past and refuses to acknowledge the harshness of today. After the demise of her beloved military husband, Charles feels the purity of the lake has been breached, and impending commercial plans will only further damage the rectitude of the place. She wants to leave, albeit not before she gets rid of the past she is holding up. She desires to sell the property and the album that once belonged to her son, Tim.

Playing Charlie’s domestic help is the Late Elizabeth Pena as Marlena. In her last film role, Pena plays a contemptuous aid to Peil. A woman who renders with fine ease, scenes of revulsion and odium. Her parts are masterful, reminding us clearly why we still lament her loss even after it has been 4 years since she passed away. Ollie and Nikolai do not really give several wow moments in the movie. There summer antics are pretty casual and all romance is typically coming- of- age; hence, devoid of enthusiasm. Isabelle McNally and Robert Sheehan seldom are any good. While Isabelle, who plays Ollie’s love interest Isadora is featureless and on many levels expressionless Sheehan is a thickly accented, hyperactive clown less fit for a melancholy drama than a “Police Academy” film.

The occasional overlapping between the past and present is too jumbled up to tell a story. A narrative drive is missing, and the album that Ollie eventually discovers contains less thematic momentum than the profound grief in the story. Charlie and Hal’s love letter take a parallel arc in the flick, but things fail miserably as the lyrical coherence is generally absent. Flashbacks are understandably incomprehensible, but too much abstract creates an editing ruckus that diminishes the film’s visual quality. The quaint unruffled domain strives for a formal touch but in vain. The mere presentation of infatuation between Charlie and Nikolai disgusts the sentimental tone of the movie and throws away the content in a void of absurdity and obnoxiousness.

The crew includes Director: Ari Gold. Screenplay: Ari Gold, Elizabeth Bull. Camera (color, widescreen, HD): Eric Lin. Editor: Todd Holmes, Gabriel Wrye. Music: Ethan Gold. It stars Rory Culkin, Robert Sheehan, Isabelle McNally, Mary Beth Peil, Elizabeth Peña, Jack Falahee, Jason Brill, Brian Dennehy in its primary cast. The 94 minutes of this thinly define uncanny saga were probably best placed on the shelf this film occupied for several years before its release. The film was officially released on 21st September 2018.

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