Eye For Film >> Movies >> Sweat (2020) Film Review
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
High intensity workouts are matched by a high intensity acting performance by Magalena Kolesnik, who powers her way through this character study of personal trainer Sylwia, who lives her life in the social media spotlight and finds herself dancing close to the emotional edge. Writer/director Magnus von Horn has always had a talent for capturing emotional eddies and undercurrents, since the days when he was making short films like Echo and he finds the perfect partner in Kolesnik, who allows everything from determination to insecurity to anger ripple just below the surface of her smile.
Sylwia refers to her 600,000 followers as "my loves" and it seems they are the only significant other in her life, except for her dog Jackson. Whether she's in her car or making a smoothie, her camera is at the ready to capture the moment. This laying out of her life in detail to strangers is in sharp contrast to the closed nature of her conversations with people she knows personally, where her interactions are much more stymied.
There are triggering events in this film - an emotional moment that goes viral, a chance encounter at a shopping centre, the appearance of a stalker - but von Horn isn't as interested in highlighting a specific pitfall of social media stardom as much as he is in examining the general fishbowl nature of it. While the idea that some of those who crave attention - not to mention some of those who obsessively pursue the perfect body - predates the social media age, von Horn captures the way that being able to turn on the camera at any time, while perhaps never truly being able to turn it off, is intensified in the modern environment.
Ambiguity lies everywhere, from the inspirational intent of Sylwia's videos versus her need for her followers to questions of where her 'performances' begin and end, with even the suggestion that elements of the stalker's emotions might well be mirroring hers. Michal Dymek's camera often holds the mood by holding on to Sylwia's face, so that we catch her reactions to what is going on around her - something that is put to particularly good use at an uncomfortable birthday party for her mother, where she is increasingly desperate for the click of love.Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2021
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