Review: A Bigger Splash
Director: Luca Guadagnino
By Sarah Stopforth
With a wet-hot-Italian-Summer ensemble cast of Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson and Matthias Schoenaerts, and the setting of the breathtaking Italian island of Pantelleriam, there is a lot of heat in Luca Guadagnino’s new film A Bigger Splash. Loosely based on Jacques Deray’s 1969 thriller La Piscine, it follows the relationships between retired rock and roll royalty Marianne (Swinton and her current lover Paul (Schoenaerts), her ex-lover and music producer Harry (Fiennes) and his out-of-wedlock-daughter Penelope (Johnson).
Swinton’s character goes almost the whole film without saying much, but still gives a remarkable performance – a testament to her talent. Johnson’s sweltering portrayal of Penelope is almost reminiscent of Lolita; white-rimmed sunglasses and a bunch of attitude, who is trying to seduce Paul, who is trying to hold it together around Harry.
Ralph Fiennes’ performance, with speeches about working with The Rolling Stones, and his subsequent dance sequences, is the best.
The unconventional camera techniques used throughout the film, allow for the scenery to also loom over the characters, adding a slightly haunting, yet beautiful quality to the lead up to the climax. This is where the whole tone of the film changes.
The ending was a tad abrupt, due to the fact that not a lot actually happens in the film, especially after the turning point.
However, the performances from the cast and the gorgeous Italian scenery made the film as enjoyable as it was – we all want to be lazing on a deckchair, by the pool, in the summertime, on an island in Italy, right?
Last year was the year of Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awaken, Ex Machina). This year, it’s all Ralph Fiennes (Hail, Caesar!, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Schindler’s List).
Dance forth, Ralph!