Most irritating is the murder scene itself, which sees both women stripping nude, seemingly in order for the camera to leer more effectively at their bodies rather than to spare them getting their petticoats bloodied.
There’s lots to love here, not least the animation itself, which uses split screens, Ben-Day dots and onomatopoeic text that mimic the tactile experience of reading physical comics – panels, hatching and primary colours intact and ready to leap off the page.
The film’s critiques are unimaginative, tutting at how territories attack first in order to consolidate power, as well as the spectacle of war itself, bystanders crowding the balconies of the ship-like city, shrieking as guns and lasers fire at the wastelands below.
Based on the true story of a group of Swedish men who competed in the synchronised swimming world championship, Swimming With Men is reminiscent of The Full Monty, its feelgood climax landing with a welcome, if gentle, splash.
Though it leans on the genre beats of melodrama to occasionally clunky effect in order to mine the audience’s tears, it’s impressive how it metabolises these moments of charged emotion in order to make its wider points.
This unwillingness to divulge anything truly intimate, combined with the film’s jumbled chronology, gives the whole thing a thin, Wikipedia-ish feel. Jett says she wants to offer her fans “a primal release”. A pity, then, that this film about her is so repressed.
Fans of the band might enjoy watching the movie cycle through their hits (and there are many), but those, like me, hoping for a more robust appraisal of the late Freddie Mercury may find themselves disappointed.
The decision to turn the film into a procedural with a redemptive ending feels like an attempt to grasp at justice, but it’s harrowing to watch all the same, yet offering little context and few fresh insights.