Swallow a film by Carlo Mirabella-Davis
”I did something unexpected today”, Hunter in Swallow.
With Swallow(2019), director and writer Carlo Mirabella-Davis draws us into the psychological horror of a newlywed housewifes domestic life. Hunter, a softspoken woman, finds herself spending her days alone in a big beautiful house overlooking an endless forest. Everything is provided for her by her husband Richie and his wealthy family. But her place is dependent on her obedience.
Hunter is calm and obliging on the outside, dressed in feminine attire, pale with blushing cheeks. We soon come to realise that within her, a storm is raging. In a book she is gifted, Hunter finds a quote that says, “Every day, try to do something unexpected. Push yourself to try new things”. Encouraged by the quote, Hunter swallows a marble. For the first time, we see Hunter in control of her autonomy.
What I appreciate the most in this film is that it does not attack the issues in a suspected way, it keeps me on my toes. I feel what Hunter feels deeply, and just like Hunter, I do not get a release. Hunter continues to gain moments of control by swallowing objects around the house. She develops Pica, a rare eating disorder that causes a person to compulsively eat non-nutritive objects, sometimes even harmful items, as a way to deal with her past and current situation.
Haley Bennett and Austin Stowell are perfection in their roles as Hunter and Richie. The choices in colours, lighting and camera angles within the film are well thought through and gives every frame a certain level of quality that is hard not to be impressed by. The film opens with the slaughtering of a lamb and ends in a private moment at a public bathroom that is relatable to so many women.
This film is an unexpected masterpiece that swallows you whole! The film is available on MUBI and many other platforms depending on your location.
*Header photo; Haley Bennet as “Hunter” in Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ Swallow. Courtesy of IFC Films. An IFC Films Release.