Madman Cinema/AV Channel .
R4 . COLOR . 106 mins .
R . PAL
Known for their previous documentary Taxicab Confessions, Harry and Joe Gantz this time around take a look at the world of swinging. For the uninitiated, swingers are couples that enjoy sex with other couples, either together or separately. Swinging is not for everyone and whether you are an opponent or supporter of this behaviour, Sex With Strangers should give you a small insight into it.
"What do you want me to do for an hour and a half while you guys have sex?"
Couple number one.
The documentary looks at three couples involved in swinging. Truth be known, only two of them are couples, the other is a guy who has two women fighting for his affections, every straight man’s dream? More about that threesome later though. Our first couple and the most likeable are James and Theresa, veterans of the “sport”. They are a very likeable couple that have been doing this kind of thing for years and seem to have a stronger relationship because of it. Their holidays are planned around swinging and travelling to new towns for new adventures.
Dressed for success.
Our next couple are Shannon and Gerard, another married couple that also have a small child. Their story covers them telling Shannon’s mother about their lifestyle and the problems caused when Gerard meets a girl on the Internet. Jealousy is obviously a problem when couples do this sort of thing and their story shows some of the pitfalls.
Lastly we have the triangle of Calvin, Sara and Julie. Calvin is more than happy with the arrangement of two women having feelings for him. Both the ladies seem happy with the arrangement also, at the beginning anyway. Sara is constantly whining about being neglected and although Julie doesn’t appear to be jealous, she would be more than happy for Sara to disappear. The tables are turned quite humorously at one point, though, when the two girls get together and shut out Calvin. He is not too happy when the shoe is on the other foot.
Prowling the chat rooms for more swingers.
This is quite an interesting documentary that borders on being soft porn. It also offers a soap opera feel. The characters are themselves and this gives a good insight into the lifestyle, but it does seem to be more about the characters than the life of swinging. It is filmed in Handycam style and, although this gives it a slightly amateurish feel, it does add to the realism. The characters are an interesting bunch, some seem to have come straight from Jerry Springer's show, but once you get to know them a bit better, they are reasonably likeable.
If you were ever curious about swinging then this is perhaps a good place to start your research. Having said that though, I would strongly suggest you investigate further rather than base your judgement on this alone.
Sex With Strangers is presented in full frame and has a strange framed type effect on the screen. It has been shot on hand held video cameras and therefore doesn’t offer a great picture. There is a ton of grain, poor detail and an average colour palette, but these are all standard problems with this type of documentary. Camera work is shaky, which doesn’t help, but this really is the type of film that doesn’t require a reference quality picture.
Audio is supplied in Dolby Digital stereo and does the job sufficiently. Dialogue is clear for the most part, although the accents are a little strong y’all. There is some music used and this comes through clearly and adds to the feel well. There are no problems with hiss or dropouts and synch is never a problem.
The extras department is light on. All that is on offer is a theatrical trailer and three teaser trailers in the form of Madman Propaganda. These trailers are for the films The Piano Teacher, Disco Pigs and The Girl Next Door.
Overall, if you want to see a ton of boobs then this is great. If you want to learn about the lifestyle of swinging then this is a good place to start. If you are looking for a quality documentary may I suggest you look somewhere else? There is no doubt a market for this type of feature, but I fear the majority of viewers will be in the first category, that of boob spotting.