'The Song of Sway Lake (2017),' is written and directed by Ari Gold and co-written by Elizabeth Bull. The film tells the story of Ollie Sway, a young jazz collector who plots to steal a valuable 78 record from his grandmother's lakefront estate on Sway Lake. Ollie, who has been struggling with his father's recent suicide at this same lake house, enlists the help of his friend Nikolai to locate the rare record and vacate the property before anyone knows he was there.
The film centers mostly around Ollie Sway, who's is played wonderfully by Rory Culkin. While Ollie's role in the movie is pretty subdued, you do get a feel for the internal struggles his character is dealing with. Then we have Nikolai, Ollie's partner in crime. Nikolai's character is very much the opposite of Ollie; he is very outspoken, loud and wild. Many times with a role of this nature, you will find a performance that over the top and sometimes annoying, but Robert Sheehan plays the role perfectly. His character provides a necessary comedic relief which helps energize the film. Other standouts in the movie include Charlie Sway and Isadora. Charlie Sway, who is played superbly by the great Mary Beth Peil, is Ollie's grandmother and the owner of the Sway estate. Isadora, who is played by Isabelle McNally, is a young woman that Ollie forms a minor infatuation with and is a character I would have liked to have seen more of in the story.
Aside from the excellent all-around performances, there are two other areas of the film that ready stood out to me. First, we have the incredible soundtrack. While you would expect a movie with the word song in the title to have an outstanding soundtrack, I was still amazed by how the jazz soundtrack blurred the lines between the classical past of Sway Lake and the more modern-day setting of the story. Secondly, we have the lake itself, which is very much presented as a character in the film. The movie's cinematographer, Eric Lin, presents Sway Lake in an almost poetic fashion with beautiful shots both above and below the surface of the lake.
All in all, I enjoyed 'The Song of Sway Lake.' My only real complaint about the film is that at a few different moments, it slowed to a bit much for my taste. Luckily, the outstanding performances, soundtrack, and cinematography all made up for the areas of slowness. I give 'The Song of Sway Lake' an 8 out of 10.