Swept Away’s action gets progressively thornier (Gennarino’s revenge fantasy goes unchecked, basically), and with it the angle of the film’s attack deepens. What begins as a takedown of materialism evolves into an expose on the horrific means and ends of masculine power, then a broader critique of the perils of having authority in general, then ultimately the deduction that the implicit codes of society itself are the greatest evil.
Whether you find SWEPT AWAY funny, erotic, offensive, or some combination thereof says a lot about your own biases, both political and sexual. And that’s what Wertmüller intended the film to do: hold a mirror up to the viewers’ prejudices... How to play the character’s masochism without degrading herself in the process? Wertmüller pours on a lot of directorial style, leaving the actress and the audience to solve the problem on their own.