Scripted by Aussie swimming champ Tony Fingleton from his own autobiography, this drama gets by on the compelling relationship between his parents: alcoholic bastard Harold (Geoffrey Rush) and his fiesty wife Dora (Judy Davis). There's passion and affection there - - Rush creates a gloriously charismatic monster - - but the relationship dances along the brink of violent meltdown.
Trouble is, the film's not just about them. It's more about their relationship with swimmer sons Tony (Jesse Spencer) and John (Tim Draxl), who were pushed to breaking point by their domineering yet underachieving dad as he played them off against each other.
Spencer's competent, but the more time the camera spends on him, the more you long for it to flip back to Rush and Davis. By the end, even director Russell Mulcahy seems bored with endless swim meets and dunks supporting players to home in on Mom and Pop.