Swimming with Sharks - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Swimming with Sharks Reviews

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Samuel Riley
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2012
Sometimes knowing fairly little about a film makes it better when you finally see it. Let me tell you, Swimming With Sharks can make you laugh, be shocked or even both.

The film slightly focuses on dark humour, along with being realistic in certain aspects of real life; such as the punk generations being lazy and wanting it all at once.

It sometimes feel that the wrong atmosphere is created for certain situations. At the same time, because it mocks the younger generations,it may offend younger viewers.

Ultimately, I believe that the main attention should be focused on Kevin Spacey, who plays as Guy's boss. At the same time, Spacey peforms one of his best roles in his career.

Swimming With Sharks arguably gave Kevin Spacey the milestone to his successful career of 'The Usual Suspects' and 'American Beauty'
Super Reviewer
½ January 29, 2012
This tawdry little drama crossed some delicate lines drawn in the sand during the nineties. It was bold, innovative, and in the indie frame of mind. The sheer ruthlessness of the script was really something we wouldn't see until psychological thrillers emerged, or unless we ventured into horror. I did find the way it was presented to be shoddy. This film is supposed to be edgy and out there, but it relied on somber, low music in every scene as a way to impart that it was one worth watching. The style was all wrong, the flashbacks felt jerky, and the reveal was pointedly sloppy. The entire ending was by far the most disappointing part of this film, as it felt hurried, as if the screenwriter was unaware of where to go after getting themselves into a corner. I want to praise the grand master of acting, Kevin Spacey, as he took on an indie role in the midst of his success with The Usual Suspects, and then nailed it. I wondered how Spacey could take the role in Horrible Bosses after rarely doing comedy, but then I saw this movie and realized he was just rehashing a previous role. Just as in that film, Spacey is darkly funny, while also portraying the inner callousness of the bossman, and showing the tiny insignificance of the working stiff. Frank Whaley, who has gone on to do great character work whilst portraying murderous sods, was the perfect choice for this. He is just pathetic enough to work, curious and yet prophetically odd. I can equally understand why anyone wouldn't like this, because it mostly consists of someone getting yelled at, but the intercutting scenes of the future really hold interests, and some of the ideas expressed were pretty original. I liked the flow, and it did make me think about the lives of assistants and my own ends, which will probably be as awful since I am an English major. That ending, of course, was the worst thing about it, but otherwise it's a good watch and a great reminder that independent gems are found in the most unlikely of places.
Super Reviewer
March 11, 2012
Rex: This is not a business, this is show business. Punching below the belt is not only all right, it's rewarded. 

"Life is not a movie"

I loved everything about Swimming With the Sharks, right up until the unsatisfying ending. Even with an ending that leaves something to be desired, this is still a worthwhile and extremely good film. It's dark and it's funny. Two things I love in movies. It has Kevin Spacey doing what he does best and that is acting like a complete asshole. It has Frank Whaley acting as a cowardly assistant, and he is perfectly cast. 

I can see some people not enjoying this movie at all. It's all dialogue and little action. Most of the runtime is spent watching an assistant get yelled at for the smallest things. But it's funny and extremely well written. Every tirade that Kevin Spacey goes on feels perfect. The changes in Frank Whaley's character feel perfect. This movie feels perfect. If only it could have come up with the perfect ending.

The movies plot follows an assistant to a movie executive. He gets in a relationship with a producer and begins to put plans together for a movie. He has to deal with his difficult boss and every little detail of the mans life. It gets to the point where he can do almost nothing else. Every aspect of his life is ruled by his boss.

I love movies of this type. It has a definite feeling of independent filmmaking powering it. It's a pretty harsh and dark comedy, which I love. As a fan of dark movies, I feel that this does just about everything right. It developed it's characters in a way that made us genuinely care about one and hate the other. It presented dark themes in humorous ways, and it never backed away from how depressing Guy's life is, now that he is under the command of Buddy.

This would probably be one of my favorites of all-time if it had found a better way to wrap up the story.
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2011
Swimming with Sharks, is a good film, that presents a intelligent and surprising script with a Hollywood satire. Kevin Spacey's acting is one of the top points of the film, his performance together with Whaley, brings a great dark humor to Huang's picture and to the climax, of course in someway the screenwriter/director could discover much more of the feature and his characters to presents for the audience, and enrich more the plot and script. However, Swimming with Sharks is a terrific tip for who like of suspense, black comedy and to Spacey's fans. Fresh.
Super Reviewer
½ April 21, 2009
"Before you go out and change the world, you have to ask yourself, "What do you really want?"

A young, naive Hollywood studio assistant finally turns the tables on his incredibly abusive producer boss.

An excellent film, and one of Kevin Spacey's truly great moments. He shines in this character of an abusive and dominating boss, and seems to be a natural at it. The story seems quite straightforward to begin with, but halfway through the film the truth is revealed and you are pulled from siding with one character and totally hating the other, to understanding both. In fact you are almost taken the full journey to hating the character you originally believed in. This turn is done wonderfully, and you can feel your realization creeping forward. The ending is just as much a turnaround as anything, and watching Spacey's character control the events is fantastic. See Spacey at one of his finest moments.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2009
Good film but it doesn?t seem to be sure what it wants to be, serious or comedy? I can see why it was made into a theatre productions, it one of those films that could cross over very well.
Super Reviewer
½ April 5, 2009
Pretty awesome ending, but the torture plot is like the equivalent of gratuitous boobs for pubescent fantasies. It is vicarious fun, yet unmotivated. A simpering, whimpering idiot like Guy wouldn't have the moxie to carry out this revenge. Every time he seems to be getting a hang of the ropes, he'd become a spineless, senseless mess again.
Super Reviewer
½ October 29, 2007
Kevin Spacey: "Shut up, listen, and learn. You have no brain. No judgement calls are necessary. What you think means nothing. What you feel means nothing." Hehehe! Love this one! Perhaps a good video to give a new graduate, or to someone who had just started working, it would be very pretty with a note that says: WELCOME TO THE WORLD! :P Sadistic! utterly sadistic! Hahaha!!
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2009
"This is the only way that you can hope to survive. Because life... is not a movie. Everyone lies. Good guys lose. And love... does not conquer all"

I really liked the plot the conclusion & the characters' interactions & lines in the climax is great but the movie could have been better, more convincing & more realistic, Overall this was a refreshing experience for me & it has two brilliant perfs by Spacey & Whaley, Whaley is an underrated actor
Super Reviewer
½ September 21, 2008
Man Kevin Spacey pulls of these type of roles perfectly, but man Frank Whaley is a whalin' biatch, it's Hollywood bebe.
Super Reviewer
November 28, 2006
Another fine performance from Kevin Spacey, although I'd have to admit, I'd never heard of it.

An enjoyable watch of a Dog eat Dog world of show business and the people who 'used' in the process to reach the top.

A humourous look at mental torture and humiliation in the film business.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2007
Wonderfully cruel Kevin Spacey makes this film worth seeing. WORST BOSS EVER!
Super Reviewer
½ May 31, 2007
I saw this absolutely ages ago, before who I knew who Kevin Spacey and Benicio Del Toro were. And I loved it! A savagely funny black comedy in which an obnoxious, egotistical studio exec makes his knew assistants life such a misery, he finally snaps and takes his creative and gleefully sadistic revenge. A great satire of corporate america.
Super Reviewer
October 31, 2012
We have learned from Horrible Bosses and Margin Call that Kevin Spacey plays a wonderful flawed boss. Here is one of his first examples of being the guy that you would love to push out a window. While you can wish that Spacey would vary his roles a wee bit more, these scene chewing moments are fabulous.
Super Reviewer
½ January 1, 2012
Buddy Ackerman (Kevin Spacey) is one obnoxiously and intentionally brutal film producer that cares nothing about Guy (Frank Whaley) his production assistant's job because he is such a delirious control freak. As we are soon to see...Guy has a plan to change all of that...real soon. Please see this! LOL!
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2011
Swimming with Sharks contains a lot of moments of truth and serves as a fair warning to unpleasant bosses all around. It's very clever and the dialouge is funny and witty.

Most will find this movie tedious because it changes tones too often. But I found it enjoyable and Kevin Spacey was brilliant. Such an evil performance! His character in Swimming with Sharks is very similar to his character in Horrible Bosses.
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2011
Swimming with Sharks is made by Kevin Spacey, I can't imagine anyone else playing his character. Spacey even plays seemingly the same character in the recent Horrible Bosses. The film itself is all over the map tonally, alternating between black comedy and a serious drama. The ending also is bold, but ultimately unconvincing. Still, it has enough funny moments and well delivered dialogue to keep it interesting.
Super Reviewer
½ November 25, 2009
An acerbic comedy that makes a crucial mistake in its structural choices, but still manages to be a fairly entertaining film. Kevin Spacey is brilliant, as always, playing a verbally cruel movie executive. I personally think his performance is the highlight of the movie, but watching him is reason enough to rent it. Frank Whaley is a capable leading man, but his character's nature is ultimately betrayed by the script and no actor could possibly pull that off. The screenplay is the most evident source of the film's issues, but it also features some marvelously written rants and arguments. A young Benicio Del Toro makes a brief appearance, and he's always fascinating to watch.
Super Reviewer
½ November 29, 2011
Swimming with Sharks contains a lot of moments of truth and serves as a fair warning to unpleasant bosses all around. It's very clever and the dialouge is funny and witty.

Most will find this movie tedious because it changes tones too often. But I found it enjoyable and Kevin Spacey was brilliant. Such an evil performance! His character in Swimming with Sharks is very similar to his character in Horrible Bosses.
Super Reviewer
½ July 31, 2010
May look as a witty satire of the film industry's "corporate ladder" at first, but then gradually unravels as not being a film that pokes fun at the said subject matter with a finger, but more with a knife. Buddy Ackerman is a vile character that could have easily slipped down to one-dimensionality, but thanks to the material and Kevin Spacey, it turned out to be a role that furthered the strength of the first, and proved the greatness of the latter. Frank Whaley as Guy perfectly contrasted the "bigger than life" executive that is Buddy, mixing the portrayal with priceless facial expressions of naivety and disillusionment, and extreme nonsensical repetition of nods to orders, crisscrossing with Spacey's brutal exterior and foul-mouthed tirades. I also commend George Huang(the director) with his use of non-linear narrative, not going for a straightforward story-telling to make audiences anticipate the employee's revenge with excitement, but jumps back and forth, to complement Buddy and Guy's unexpected reversal of situation. I love the film as a whole, but one little thing that stood out to me is a little scene involving Buddy's "way it goes" litany during his captive, maintaining what's left of his artificial outer strength, then slowly began to cry: A peek inside the abstract heart of an impenetrable office tyrant.
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