As with just about every Netflix original film that doesn’t happen to star Adam Sandler, it’s a real shame that this hasn’t been getting much traction leading up to its release today. Swanberg appears to have entered a new chapter in his filmmaking career after collaborating with Netflix last year for the production of his totally delightful 8-part television series, Easy. Continuing to work with the company that apparently has an endless supply of money, Swanberg’s first feature collaboration with Netflix finds him working again on his new wavelength that Easy set the ball in motion with last Fall.
It’s nice to see Swanberg taking a step back from his traditional style of filmmaking that we as an audience have become accustomed to over the years. His latest, Win It All plays out like a crossover between Robert Altman’s California Split met with Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Meeting these two influences, Swanberg’s recent changeover in the DP department since moving over to Netflix has really allowed him to open up his cinematic canvas. The pulchritude of cinematographer Eon Mara’s filmic grain matched with Swanberg’s strong focus on landscape resembles the recent outpour from Brooklyn filmmakers like Dustin Guy Defa.
Swanberg has always placed an involved focus on relationships throughout the trajectory of his career. Whether it be marital partners, plain ol’ friendships, or even a dramatic feud between people, there’s a real sense of understanding for each member of the party. Every relationship in his film, whether it be the focus of the film or a brief encounter, Swanberg’s marvelously deft skills as a filmmaker allows for a clear understanding of each respective side of the table. It’s his level of sheer commitment to the characters and their relationships that makes his work truly one of a kind, as no one else working today quite establishes the inner-character relationships in their films like Joe Swanberg.