The Swerve
(Dean Kapsalis)


The Swerve, the memorable debut feature from filmmaker Dean Kapsalis, beckons on the spirit of Roman Polanski’s Repulsion as it details the descent of a middle-age mother as she endures the same repetitive sensation of disappointment. It’s a film about anhedonia, wherein Holly (Azura Skye), a high school English teacher, finds herself retreating to the periphery of life’s frame: her husband is clearly cheating on her, her two sons are brutes, and her alcoholic sister remains the center of her family’s attentions, all as she casually thins away into oblivion. Skye’s a notable presence here, as her physicality affords the film a lot of its most vivid moments of dread. Kapsalis has noted Polanski, Hitchcock, and Bergman as formative influences and you sense that throughout The Swerve, but the cocktail can sometimes prove a bit cumbersome (a narrative involving one of Holly’s students is too underdeveloped). Still, I was impressed by his formal dexterity and patience; a scene involving Holly meandering through a supermarket is especially provocative in how it creates an anxiety out of the banal. Good stuff.