Swingers (1996) Flash Review

Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Jon Favreau; Vince Vaughn; Ron Livingston; Heather Graham.
Plot: Wannabe actors become regulars in the stylish neo-lounge scene; Trent teaches his friend Mike the unwritten rules of the scene.

The mid-90s were a great time for the independent movie scene. With Miramax in the height of their powers, young filmmakers like Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were made into stars almost over night. Swingers (1996) was the Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn equivalent of Good Will Hunting (1997), firing each of them into the public eye and on to incredibly successful careers. But, was it any good?

Well, what really stood out as far as Swingersgoes was just how appropriately self aware it was. The often referenced film classics that were a clear influence to the film in every aspect – story, acting, photography – made for a sophisticated picture that has gone down in many people’s books as one of the greatest independent movies of all time; critically I’d have to agree. Personally, however, I’d not rate it as one of my all time favourites.

I think the main reason I couldn’t connect withSwingers is because, just maybe, I am too young. As a movie centered around a 20 something guy fresh out of a 6 year relationship, I felt that the premise of ‘getting over someone’ of such a long-term relationship while partying and ‘adventuring’ with friends was something I’m yet to experience as a 23 year old from the UK, removing the identifiability factor from the picture.

Therefore, my recommendation regarding this film is to watch it out of intrigue as a film fan or scholar, not for entertainment, if you’re under a particular age. Generally, the movie provides a wonderful commentary on the film industry while paying homage to some of its greats and it truly is engrossing enough to be worth the 96 minute run-time. Don’t be put off by some of Vince Vaughn’s pictures lately, this is vastly different and a much more naturalistic performance from him.

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