Sport can make for great onscreen drama for fairly obvious reasons—the competition is right there, the stakes are clear, there will in all likelihood be a winner and a loser by the time the credits roll.
But that only gets you so far. If the competition in the ring, on the track or—in this specific case—in the pool doesn’t mirror more personal conflict, then the drama is inert. Rocky isn’t about winning the fight but going the distance. Warrior is about healing familial rifts. Slap Shot, Major League, Semi-Pro and lord knows how many more? They’re ‘slobs vs snobs‘ battles about class and gentrification.
Streamline, from first-time writer and director Tyson Wade Johnston, shares more DNA with MMA movie Warrior than the other examples. Our protagonist is Olympic swimming hopeful Benjamin (Levi Miller), who is dealing with the usual raft of adolescent issues alongside the pressure put on him by his gruff coach Glenn (Robert Morgan, bringing life to a stock character) and his mother Kim (Laura Gordon, recently seen in the similarly themed Undertow). When his estranged father Rob (Jason Isaacs) is released from prison and starts tentatively seeking reconciliation with the family he abused, the young athlete begins to crumble.