Holly seems to have it all: two kids, a nice house, a good job as a teacher, and a husband with his career on the way up. But there are troubling signs that all is not right in her world. The insomnia. The medication for the insomnia. The dreams from the medication for the insomnia. (Are they even dreams?) And then there’s the mouse that appears in her home. Upsetting her already delicate balance, it sends her spiraling out of control. Writer/director Dean Kapsalis’ feature debut explores a week in the life of a woman on the verge in this haunting meditation on mental illness.
Epic Pictures Group
User Reviews: Azura Skye has been around for awhile, quietly amassing a resume filled with countless supporting roles, mostly in TV and minor-to-major league horror and thriller pics. Few actors work as regularly as she does, and if you’ve noticed her low-key yet emotion-laden work, you know she’s extremely good at milking a slow boil for all it’s worth.
It’s just one more reason to see The Swerve, writer/director/editor Dean Kapsalis’ feature debut. It’s one of those rare indie-league pictures that has so much going for it, I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will reach a larger audience. It’s an offbeat, deliberately genre-bending thriller that’s grounded so much in reality and the razor-thin line that separates everyday stress from off-the-wall madness, it will stay with you for some time.
Skye is in virtually every frame of this movie and it’s hard to imagine it having half the impact if that slot were filled by a more high-profile actor. In The Swerve, Skye plays Holly, a maxed-out mom and dutiful daughter and wife. She’s a high school English teacher who takes her job very seriously (in a good way), but wears a hard, wrung-out look, yet she never comes off as "unstable" or "crazy" — no more than anyone you know, at least. If you met her a few times you might say she’s a little repressed but "stable" or "steady"… "dependable". An ideal citizen, right?
Yet the volcano is building every day, fueled by such minor annoyances as her sullen, bratty sons; her perpetually 12-step-recovering resentful sister (Ashley Bell in top form), a mouse infestation, and the unshakable suspicion that her husband is staying at the supermarket he manages for more than Inventory Night.
Probably the most disturbing thing about The Swerve is how well it portrays the consequences of one rash, violent act, subconsciously benign in it’s execution, and how that reaction can completely derail you, setting off a trigger effect whose repercussions resonate for years.
Driving home after a particularly humiliating birthday dinner, Holly finally fights back when she’s accosted by a few wasted punks out for a joyride (not a spoiler, it’s in the trailer). It’s a brash, if reckless, act of self-defense and she wakes up on her couch the next day, drool pouring, her sons chuckling and gaping at her.
Kapsalis doesn’t spend a lot of time on the titular act, because it really doesn’t matter that much in the scheme of the movie. It’s *almost* a McGuffin of sorts. In fact, there are a lot of things that occur in The Swerve that have you questioning if they *really* happened or if they’re Holly’s paranoid wish fulfillment fantasies. But you’ll figure it out. Holly does too, eventually.
There’s enough plot in The Swerve to keep audiences who can’t relate to character-focused dramas engaged, which is rare. It’s also a beautifully composed and shot film, one that takes it’s time building up and tearing down it’s fragile suburban jungle until you (and Holly) notice suddenly that it’s in flames.
But see this movie for Skye. Throughout it all, she walks the very difficult border between effusion and concealment, at times so transparently, that it’s almost impossible to discern her intentions and motives. Yet it satisfies and you "get it." Oh, you get that and much more. The Swerve has a payoff that’s so bizarre and surreal yet so "right" — it’s stranger than fiction; it’s life.
It could happen to anyone And that’s scarier than anything most filmmakers could ever dream up.