Swallows and Amazons (2016)

Swallows and Amazons (2016 film).pngFrom Russia With Kids

Director: Philippa Lowthorpe
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Andrew Scott, Rafe Spall, Jessica Hynes, Harry Enfield, Dane Hughes, Orla Hill, Teddy-Rose Malleson-Allen, Bobby McCulloch, Seren Hawkes, Hannah Jayne Thorp

On holiday in the Lake District, the Walker children wish to camp on an island. Venturing there on the boat "Swallow", they discover two children are already there, the Blacketts, who call themselves "Amazons". As they battle for the island, two Russian agents search for the Blackett's uncle.

Image result for swallows and amazons 2016 youtubeA picture for all the family, things are at their best when the focus is on the children, venturing forth in their adventure. It carries a certain amount of charm, which sadly doesn't remain there. A veteran of TV, Philippa Lowthorpe's direction proves competent, but ultimately dull. This is especially true when the plot veers into the half-baked Russian subplot, inhabited by characters who barely speak Russian as it is.

Then there's the forced attempts at conflict, which could have been solved had the characters actually communicated with each other. The lacking dialogue merely feels like a lazy attempt to extend the plot for longer than necessary, resulting in a final act that's rather lacking, and comes off as half-hearted.

Swallows and Amazons is a family adventure that works best when that's actually the focus. When the focus is on the disparate Russian adventure, or a clear example of how the characters should actually share important details, the film sinks like a basket of food in the lake.