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Swimming With Sharks

HD   R Closed Captioning

George Huang

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About the Movie

Originally screened at Telluride as The Buddy Factor, Swimming With Sharks is an uneven but engrossing picture, and a possible warning to anyone with plans to break into the motion-picture business. When Guy (Frank Whaley), a recent film-school graduate with big ideas, takes a job as assistant to major studio executive Buddy Ackerman (Kevin Spacey), he believes his ship has finally come in; little does he know it's a slave ship, for his boss is indeed worse than a slave driver. Buddy delights in abusing his boy-toy (exemplified by the scene in which he forbids Guy to go to the bathroom as he pours water back and forth from a glass to a pitcher). Meanwhile, Guy struggles to push his idea for a script and feels he's finally made it when Buddy congratulates him on a job well done. However, much to his chagrin, his conniving boss actually takes sole credit for the project, pushing the young assistant to wit's end — he breaks into Buddy's Beverly Hills showplace and takes him hostage, then proceeds to torture him in a number of demeaning and horrifying ways. The whole film stands as a sort of parable about the value system in Hollywood and the cost of reaching the top; it doesn't play like real life, but it's not supposed to. The real reason to watch the film, however, is Spacey's performance. He manages at once to be terrifying, hateful, and hilarious, and he makes Buddy Ackerman a character the audience won't soon forget.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 35
  • Fresh: 28
  • Rotten: 7
  • Average Rating: 6.4/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Mr. Spacey's Buddy is a caricature so dazzling that even Buddy might have to say something nice about it: cool, withering, studiously suave, and spurred by impulses that might seem peevish even in a 2-year-old child. – Janet Maslin, New York Times, Mar 13, 2013

Fresh: When Spacey goes ballistic, only to freeze the nitroglycerine in his veins a moment later, you don't want to look anywhere else. – Entertainment Weekly, Mar 13, 2013

Rotten: To outsiders, all this rage and gnashing of teeth may seem silly and self-absorbed. – Peter Rainer, Los Angeles Times, Jan 22, 2006

Fresh: [Huang's] plot may be overwritten and the ending may be less than satisfying, but his eye and ear are right. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, Jul 7, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Loud and nasty, that's the only way it sticks.

This movie is dark but simultaneously hilarious. You have the genius of Kevin Spacey combined with the beauty of Michelle Forbes; the perfect amount of foul language and back handed comments at the Hollywood movie industry; unbelievable circumstances derived from intolerant behaviors of anger due to greed and ego; and the end result makes you forget that you have to sit through 90 or so minutes of a whiney Frank Whaley. Not to mention a short cameo from the always-impeccable Benicio Del Toro. Piece of advice, if you think you hate your job now - watch this movie with gratitude that you don't work for Buddy Ackerman!

Best Movie Ever!

I know that's a common statement, but it's so true here! Kevin Spacey gives the performance of a lifetime in this movie. You love him and hate him all at the same time. This movie was fantastically written and the acting is superb. Frank Whaley is not in much, but I will never forget his acting in this role. Buy this movie immediately and share it with everyone you know!!!!

Swimming With Sharks

Great psychological study with appropriate ending.

Swimming With Sharks
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  • $7.99
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Released: 1995

Customer Ratings