Dorian's Movie Reviews

Is it worth seeing? Reviews are presented with no cynicism, no comparisons, no biased standards, no pretentiousness - every movie is reviewed on its individual entertainment value including technical presentation.  
Scale 1 - 5
2001, Warner Bros
Directed by Dominic Sena
Written by Skip Woods
Rated "R"

Swordfish is a taut thriller, fast paced, with a lot of action and thrilling stunts. Audience knowledge is tightly controlled so the air is filled with mystery, suspense, and surprise. Hardly any action is predictable, and there is a twist at every turn.

What would happen if vigilante justice was allowed to rule? There are plenty of hints in this movie about the extremes to which people would go. The lives of innocent people would cease to be a compelling consideration as the vigilantes become the same as the terrorists they are trying to stop. Is there a parallel with today's real-life law enforcement and para-military operations? So when does it cross the line? This story teases us with the question, and lets us see at least that poetic justice makes a sweet ending.

Swordfish is a good thrill ride with very few defects. If you want to see big passenger buses fly and people sailing by in slow motion explosive destruction, this is the movie. The plot and action move so fast that there is hardly time to notice any questionable motives or actions. The intrigue begins in the first scene with Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) saying that the problem with Hollywood movies is that if they were realistic, the bad guys would begin killing people and win the hostage situations. "Who is this guy," you wonder, and are these words prophetically speaking about the end of the movie? Or is this just a style of dialogue, like you find in a Quentin Tarantino movie? Or is this a writer/film-maker giving us a clue about why this movie is different? The surprising answer comes immediately in the first scenes.

For an action film, the characterization is well done. Even the terrorists actually have believable motives. Stanley Jobson (Hugh Jackman) is convincingly motivated to again break the anti-hacking law to get his daughter back. Halle Berry delivers a well executed performance as Ginger. Too bad she gets publicly executed.

I give this one four spotlights out of a possible five for well done action and special effects, casting, writing, acting, and directing. It is punctuated with an "R" rating. Enjoy!

- Dorian


  • 5 Spotlights: The best of movie making, well worth seeing
  • 4 Spotlights: Good movie for the genre; may have minor technical or story problems but they hardly harm the enjoyment; clearly worth seeing; (most movies)
  • 3 Spotlights: Not bad, but has problems - worth seeing
  • 2 Spotlights: Caution - a "B" movie, probably will appeal only to some
  • 1 Spotlight: Caution - not recommended for any audience (will probably never be given)

Note: No half spotlights are given.

My reviews are not based much on my personal taste. I try to be as objective as possible, keeping in mind that entertainment value is very subjective and individualized. If I'm not interested in a movie I usually don't go see it, so it doesn't get reviewed. Each character, and each position in the production company might be highlighted if the contribution affected the enjoyment of the story as either outstanding or dismal and I noticed it, keeping in mind that many contributions are singularly distinguished by their seamless integration with the story, not calling attention to themselves and thereby escaping attention.

- Dorian Scott Cole

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