Sink Or Swim


Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Sink Or Swim
"The training sessions begin to pall - for the audience as much for the participants - but once the action moves to Norway, the pace and the scenery pick up considerably." | Photo: Mika Cotellon

Treading water in the same pond as Swimming With Men (the British comedy that closed the Edinburgh International Film Festival) Gilles Lellouche’s unashamedly feel-good comedy has a formulaic feel dealing with a bunch of middle-aged guys bonding together and trouncing their demons.

The cast is starry enough with Mathieu Amalric, Guillaume Canet, Jean-Huges Anglade and Belgian comedy actor Benoît Poelvoorde all splashing around to comic effect.

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The men all have their problems and foibles and seem an unlikely assortment. Amalric has been off work for two years, supported by his long-suffering spouse (Marina Fois). Anglade is a failed rocker who lives in a camper van while Poelevoorde, as a pool salesman, is teetering on verge of bankruptcy.

When they happen upon information about a world men’s synchronised swimming championship they find a common goal in life. Their trainer (played by Virginie Efira), who has her own issues, puts them through their paces, joined by Leila Bekhti as a wheelchair using former swim champ.

The training sessions begin to pall - for the audience as much for the participants - but once the action moves to Norway (they travel there in Anglade’s camper van) the pace and the scenery pick up considerably.

By the time of the raucous and triumphant finale we’re all well primed for the ultimate adrenalin rush.

Laced with pop songs that reference the characters’ younger selves such as Everybody Wants To Rule The World from Tears for Fears and Olivia Newton John’s Physical, Lellouche's film is on roll.

At just over two hours it strains to sustain itself and would have benefited from tighter editing. No-one can deny, however, that it has its affecting moments, an uplifting tone, and an infectious sense of humour, all of which combine to keep it afloat.

Reviewed on: 02 Jul 2018
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A comedy drama about a male synchronised swimming team.

Director: Gilles Lellouche

Writer: Gilles Lellouche

Starring: Guillaume Canet, Leïla Bekhti, Mathieu Amalric, Virginie Efira, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Benoît Poelvoorde, Marina Fois

Year: 2017

Runtime: 122 minutes

Country: France

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If you like this, try:

Swimming With Men