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A harsh, cutting, and wickedly funny look into the darker side of show business, Swimming with Sharks tells the story of a naive and eager assistant (Frank Whaley) and his slide into the cutthroat world of Hollywood power struggles. Whaley goes to work for a top movie executive (Kevin Spacey) who almost immediately begins to wear down his new assistant's exuberance with his whining, egomaniacal tantrums and relentless verbal abuse, even as he promises his young charge a chance to move up the ladder. Culminating in a violent and ultimately ironic confrontation between mentor and protégé, this brutal 1994 black comedy benefits from some razor-sharp writing and terrific comic turns from both Whaley (Hoffa) as one whose idealism is irrevocably shattered, and Spacey (Seven, L.A. Confidential), deliciously funny as a caustic, belligerent, and ultimately sad figure. A savage indictment of both the movie business and the price of ambition, Swimming with Sharks is one of the best black comedies in recent years. --Robert Lane
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