Frank Perry - The Swimmer (1968), 6/10 

Burt Lancaster’s charisma shoulders a well-developed, creative, and thoughtful narrative with a unique chronology. Going into the film without an idea of its plot is the best method, as the beginning feels more like a pool scene from The Graduate without Benjamin’s outsider perspective than what it eventually develops into. This sets up a universally haunting story that reveals its breaks with time, also fragmentally disclosing its depth alongside the story’s progression and characterization in a way that complements its commentary. The stylistic individuality can be either off-putting or endearing in differing moments but leans into its story to provide direction, which is ultimately quite successful from a storytelling perspective despite moments of strained performance. Lancaster’s glance is surprisingly powerful from the start as is the film’s form of presentation, generally, which keeps things interesting even before the story begins to unfurl. The story becomes more unsettling and compelling as it progresses, exhibiting one of the best qualities of a powerful narrative before rapidly presenting a slew of metaphors that pervade American life. The broad theme considering difficulties of introspection is explored quite well while simultaneously dipping its toes into tangential issues stemming from perception, societal pressures, and the repercussions of trauma on the human psyche and spirit. A very successful exercise in presenting psychological symbolism through a clever take on modern fantasy.