CAPSULE: A grandson of one of the United States's most famous military men is now broke and intending to break into his grandfather's lake mansion to steal a very valuable and unopened jazz record. Instead he finds himself intrigued and seduced by the jazz-drenched life in the mansion, by his grandmother who picked this time to also visit the house, and by the attractive local girl who works at the resort across the lake. Directed by: Ari Gold. Written by: Elizabeth Bull, Ari Gold. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10
The Hal Sway family was once one of the most prominent families in the United States. People like Cole Porter and President Eisenhower came visiting their mansion by the lake--Sway Lake. The Sways owned the lake. In the 1940s their mansion was filled with swing music. Hal's son Tim was married while his father was still alive and living in the house. As a wedding gift a great legendary jazz musician wrote and recorded a song just for the newlywed Sway couple. But the record was never played or even opened. It was extremely valuable and kept in mint condition as a family treasure. Now it is two generations later. Hal's estranged son Tim has just recently committed suicide. Tim's son Ollie is living hand to mouth. Ollie, together With his unmanageable friend Nikolai decide to break into the Sway mansion, empty now for decades. Unexpectedly Charlotte--that is Ollie's grandmother who was Hal's wife--is spending a week in the mansion. Charlotte is imperious and rude to the boys and the help.
Thus begins a slow-motion cat-and-mouse game between two generations half a century apart in age. The stakes are raised a bit when the two young men discover Isadora, who works at a resort on the lake. With the lake, the mansion, and the 1940s jazz the men find themselves being seduced and falling under the influence of the peaceful lifestyle. Ari Gold's laid-back pacing douses the film in mellifluous atmosphere. After a summer of films featuring jagged, rapid-fire editing the lush atmosphere and the ambiance of the editing wins over the viewer like ENCHANTED APRIL.
The film does have a stab or two at laughing at lower and middle class entertainment. Just seconds into the film popular newsreel format gets a jab. We get an overhead look at the beauty of the property around Sway Lake and then a piece of newsreel footage in the funny voice a gossip columnist would use. Later we get pieces of home movie footage, but taken under water. This is a nice touch as one more sign of affluence of the Sway family. Few families at the time could afford underwater photography.
I rate it a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.
THE SONG OF SWAY LAKE opens in Los Angeles September 14.
Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6371588/reference
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_song_of_sway_lake
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2018 Mark R. Leeper