Swallows and Amazons is a new adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s children’s novel directed by Philippa Lowthorpe. It tells the story of the four Walker children who camp out on an island in the middle of a Lake District lake and wind up getting dragged into a clash of spies. Now I really enjoyed this film, I think it’s a fun one for kids, but it doesn’t really do anything to push the boat out. Swallows and Amazons is exactly the kind of film you can imagine catching on TV on a Sunday afternoon and enjoying then.
A really talented cast, led by Rafe Spall as Jim Turner, helps the film. I always think he puts in really good performances whenever I see him, and that he deserves to go to the next level and get more starring roles. Andrew Scott as the antagonist doesn’t give as showy as a performance as some of his other villain roles, but he always has a great presence. They also have some other great British actors like Kelly Macdonald, Jessica Hynes, and Harry Enfield. I thought that the young kids are all good as well, especially Dane Hughes’ John and Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen as Tatty.
It is always refreshing to see films that aren’t weighed down by an over-reliance on special effects and huge action set pieces, instead Swallows and Amazons is one of the sweetest films you’ll see all year, without an ounce of cynicism in it. I think that it is a movie that families can all enjoy. Even if it isn’t going to push the boundaries of cinema in any way, a throw back like this is always nice amongst the mire of dull and not very entertaining summer blockbusters we’ve faced this year.