This summer movie tore apart the American dream

In the summer, especially after a nice National Day break, you might feel a little patriotic, in which case maybe you shouldn’t be watching the 1968 American Dream skeptical movie swimmer. The film doesn’t just take a squinting look at the traditional upper-middle-class way of life, it lifts the stones from that experience and examines its sordid, vile foibles in a surreal way.The movie came at just the right time, starring Burt Lancastera beloved classic Hollywood film while incorporating New Hollywood sensibilities, spearheaded by young husband-and-wife creative partners. frank and Eleanor Perry. The film, which starts out feeling more like an upbeat, feel-good American film of the ’50s, slowly finds itself morphing into a cynical, jaded late-’60s film. swimmer Will tear away any satisfying feelings you might find in yourself while chasing your dreams. Hard work and a tight-knit community can never guarantee happiness in return, but our ultimate failure is a sure thing.

Until the late sixties, few Hollywood films dared to explore the darker parts of human society. norman rockwell– just like the United States on which this country was built. In the decades before that, many films were made to boost the morale of American citizens.movies such as great escape and steve mcqueen and huge and james dean It feels like their purpose is to continue to imbue society with a particular set of values, with the goal of getting young people into the military, or to create a positive perception of our country. While many of these things have proven problematic, Hollywood has harnessed the power of cinema to make people see things in this fantastical, heightened way. Just as you can show the virtues of the land through film, you can also show its faults. The new Hollywood movie rebuts the old ways.these films, such as easy rider and rosemary babyoften small-scale independent films, shot with a rough look, offering a skeptical view of the world around us, and the American values ​​so highly portrayed in the media of the 1950s were no longer safe.

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The dark and surreal world of The Swimmer

swimmer Find yourself caught somewhere in the middle. The film begins in a somewhat disorienting fashion, with our fit, tanned, middle-aged protagonist, Ned Merrill, jogging out of the woods in a bathing suit and jumping into the pool of a seemingly random house. Turns out, the owner knew Ned, not only knew who he was, but liked him very much!like a a lot of. Ned received an incredibly warm welcome, he was too comfortable with the way he saw and hugged his friend’s wife, dominated the conversation, and accepted too many drinks…all uninvited appears below.now, there’s something leave.

From here, the plot of the movie is on track. Ned looked at the eight miles of road from his first house to his own, with several pools dotted along the way, and he decided to jump into every one of them on his journey. For the rest of the first half of the movie, Ned does more of the same: jumps in people’s pools, offers advice, fiddles with their belongings, molests women, drinks heavily, and is adored by everyone he meets. A high-pitched, romantic orchestral score accompanies him along the way, feeling out of place at first listen but ultimately feeling more like a representation of his self-image as the music goes on.

Swimmer’s Ned is a very unreliable protagonist

swimmer burt lancaster
Image via Columbia Pictures

Near the end of the first act, Ned meets his children’s old nanny Julie (Janet Langard), now 20, swimming in the pool with friends. Predatory Ned is in full creep mode, eyeing Julie up and down in awe of her maturity and newfound adulthood. Jolie doesn’t seem to mind, though, and joins him on the journey for the remainder of the film’s first half. Although the events were described as positive interactions, the tone of the next 30 minutes was unsettling. Whatever Ned did, it wasn’t good.

Oddly enough, Jolie never changes out of her two-piece swimsuit as the film progresses, and Ned never lets her go too far. The disgusting feeling at the beginning only got worse, and the intentions of our leadership became crystal clear. The two discussed their shared history at length, with Jolie finally acknowledging her longstanding crush on him. The tone shifts, though, with Jolie avoiding Ned’s overtures, and any doubts you might have about our protagonist being an unreliable protagonist becomes all too apparent. Were all of Ned’s positive interactions always in his head? Or are these all real, and now his insecurities are taking over?

The Disintegration of the American Dream in the Mid-20th Century

Image via Columbia Pictures

If anything, the first half swimmer Paints a dark, disturbing and surreal portrait of American life from the 40s to the late 60s. Ned Merrill was a grown white man in good health, adored by everyone around him, clearly successful in his long career, with a loving family, and several lifelong friendships. The world is Ned’s, not the other way around. The movie uses odd dialogue and highly over-the-top orchestral cues to give Ned’s adventures a thick romance. There are a couple of weird montages where Ned runs through the woods from one pool to another, and director Frank Perry uses cross-dissolves, image layers, extreme lens flares, and long, rambling voiceovers, Brings a weird feel to the film. , dreamlike state. Ned’s adventures become increasingly extravagant, pushing his representation of the mid-20th-century white American dream farther and farther until the weight of it all finally wears off.

Without spoilers, the second half swimmer Not so kind to Ned. Once he loses Julie’s admiration, our protagonist gradually loses his fascination with the people he meets until it’s gone altogether. People started to get annoyed with him, started to push the flaws in his life in front of him, exposed the troubles of his family life, and finally, people were downright disgusted with him. By the end of the film, Ned Merrill is a product of an era the world is preparing to move away from. The artists of the late sixties represented the voices of a generation tired of seeing a spotless Americana on the silver screen. swimmer The movie feels like it’s really caught in the middle of a changing of the guard between old and new Hollywood. What begins as a bright, summery color film with Ned as a beloved everyman ends up being a visually silent, autumnal fever dream in which our protagonist is just a memory, Blissfully forgotten by everyone around.

swimmer Not exactly a truly important classic in film history, but it should be. It’s a film released at the perfect time in film history, reflecting real shifts in social norms through a well-constructed script. None of this would work without Burt Lancaster in the role of Ned Merrill, though. He has transformed Merrill from the kind of man America adores naturally to an outdated, sleazy relic of a forgotten age. Hopefully, as time goes on, the movie itself isn’t forgotten by time. It was the ultimate end of the male American Dream in the mid-20th century and a masterpiece of the New Hollywood era.

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