- 1 hr 34 min
Swallow, a psychological thriller directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis, centers around the character Hunter Conrad (Haley Bennett), a newlywed who seems to have the perfect life. She lives in a sprawling mansion with her handsome and wealthy husband Richie (Austin Stowell), whom she married after getting pregnant. However, as the film progresses, it becomes clear that Hunter's impeccable facade is just a mask, and she is struggling to keep her inner demons at bay. Hunter suffers from a rare and mysterious condition known as pica, which causes her to compulsively swallow inedible objects, such as marbles, thumbtacks, and even screws. Despite her husband's efforts to curtail her behavior, Hunter continues to indulge in her dangerous habit, often to the point of requiring medical attention. Her condition manifests in moments of extreme stress, and as her inner turmoil reaches a boiling point, her compulsion to swallow escalates, causing her life to spiral out of control. As her husband continues to ignore the psychological issues underlying her condition, Hunter seeks solace outside of her home. She befriends a coworker who encourages her to confront her illness and seek professional help. Hunter begins to explore the root of her condition and discovers that it may be linked to suppressed trauma from her past. Through therapy, Hunter begins to confront these issues head-on, and as a result, starts to gain control over her pica. The film's eerie and unsettling atmosphere is amplified by the cold, sterile aesthetic of Hunter's ultra-modern home, which serves as a physical manifestation of the emotional void in her life. The use of muted colors and slow, deliberate camera work wallows viewers in Hunter's languid and dispirited world, emphasising her psychological imprisonment. Throughout the film, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis employs metaphors and symbols to shed more light on Hunter's mental state. The recurring motif of birds and feathers reflects Hunter's desire for freedom from her repressive life, and the objects she swallows symbolize her need for control, a coping mechanism to deal with her trauma. Swallow boasts an impressive performance by Haley Bennett, who delivers a nuanced and powerful portrayal of Hunter. Her characterizations of the inner turmoil and vulnerability involved in living with a debilitating medical condition are both poignant and visceral. Austin Stowell, who plays Hunter's husband Richie, portrays a cold and self-absorbed individual who has no understanding of his wife's struggles. His depiction of a man who's more concerned with preserving his public image than helping his wife is both believable and unnerving. Denis O'Hare plays Erwin, the therapist helping Hunter, who provides a soothing and grounded presence amidst the chaos in her life. Other notable performances include Elizabeth Marvel, who plays Hunter's mother, and David Rasche, who plays her father-in-law. In conclusion, Swallow is an intense and thought-provoking film that addresses the complexities of mental illness and trauma. Its slow-burning pace may alienate some viewers, but those who embrace its enigmatic atmosphere will find a powerful and haunting portrayal of a woman trapped in a life she cannot endure. The film is a masterful exploration of the human psyche, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of ignoring mental health issues.