Swimming Upstream is one of those “small” sports underdog films. It’s a true story about Aussie Tony Fingleton, a swimmer who vies to be National champion. Is he racing against all odds? Well…the odds are in the form of family. Geoffrey Rush plays Fingleton’s father, an abusive alcholic. So…not only is Fingleton trying to achieve athletic glory, but also trying to win the heart of his father. This is a paint by numbers sports story. The performances are the saving grace, however. Rush, Jesse Spencer …playing the swimmer), and the always wonderful Judy Davis are all excellent.
The mix is in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. Not a bad track. Some nice swimming effects on the surrounds. Water immersion sequences allow us to get inside Tony’s world. Dialogue is fairly crisp and clear.
The 1.85:1 Widescreen transfer is quite lovely. Colors are natural and subdued. Digital artifacts and print transfer damage are kept at minimum. The transfer is, dare I say, graceful. A nice looking film.
A few things here. “Swimming Upstream: The Making of a Champion” is a small featurette. It’s too short to really matter, but this promo featurette does its job. A few deleted scenes and a trailer round out the extras. Not much here, but at least it’s not bare bones.
I have a soft spot in my heart for sports movies based on real events. Swimming Upstream does have elements of the “big game”, Rocky type plot elements. But like Chariots of Fire, Swimming Upstream is more about the personal element. With quality audio and video, and if you have a hankering for a good sports story, this movie might make a “swimmingly” good rental. The perfomances are certainly Olympic class.
Special Features List
- “Making of” featurette
- Deleted scenes