A Bigger Splash review

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Tilda Swinton,  Matthias Schoenaerts,  Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson,  Lily McMenamy,  Elena Bucci,  Aurore Clémont,  Corrado Guzzanti
Rating: 15
Running Time: 124 mins
Format: Digital, Blu-ray and DVD
Release Date: June 27th, 2016

A BIGGER SPLASH is a lavish, luscious concoction of lust, envy and rock and roll, amongst the stunning backdrop of the Mediterranean. 

A BIGGER SPLASH is an entertaining and intriguing film about famous rock star Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton), recovering from throat surgery whilst enjoying a relaxing holiday with her filmmaking boyfriend, Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts). Their tranquil respite does not last long thanks to the arrival of their old and eccentric friend, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), and his daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson) who pay them an unexpected visit.

Director Luca Guadangino has done a fantastic job of putting the testing relationships at the forefront of the film to steer the plot along, all of which has been brilliantly put in place by David Kajganich’s screenplay (based on Alain Page’s book, ‘La Piscine’). The combination of a stunning location, desire, jealousy and rock and roll are seamlessly entwined in a movie which mixes sex, violence, art and love. What an intriguing concoction. However, what really makes this film successful is that all of the four main characters play a central part and pull the audience in to their inner turmoil and dark secrets. 

A Bigger Splash

The film boasts some superbly juxtaposed wordless scenes which take us from Marianne’s former life to her current situation and finally explain why they are happening in almost complete silence. 

Fiennes and Swinton pull out fantastic performances; full of emotion, humour and comedy. As a result of throat surgery, Swinton’s character’s hoarse voice endangers everything she has built with her singing career, and her fear is shown through her facial expressions. Her reserved and fearful demeanour is a stark contrast to that of Ralph Fiennes’s character, who is energetic, vivacious and fun-loving. We witness flashbacks of their shared history; they have worked together as singer and manager, partners in their career passion and  of course, lovers. But Fiennes’s Harry is a world away from what Marianne actually needs. He’s an excitable ball of energy that does not burst; he’s shouty, domineering, loud, but inside he is secretly vulnerable. It is all an act – a wonderful mix of comedy and tragedy. Yet Marianne can’t help having feelings for him and a nostalgia for their past wild times.

A Bigger Splash

Matthias Schoenaerts is a strong force to be reckoned with on screen. He intelligently conveys the way Paul feels constrained by gratitude and good manners – Harry actually introduced him to Marianne. Rather effortlessly, he shows vulnerability, strength and weakness – in the form of Harry’s attractive, strong-willed daughter, Penelope played by Dakota Johnson. There is still a spark between Marianne and Harry; no less of one between Paul and Penelope. It is nice to see Johnson’s capabilities away from the FIFTY SHADES franchise.

A Bigger Splash

A BIGGER SPLASH will appeal to many, it’s a well-crafted film which verges more as an indie classic than a Hollywood blockbuster and with such a superb cast, it is definitely worth adding to any film fans DVD/Blu-ray collection. The DVD and Blu-ray has the obligatory extras:

  • Commentary with Director Luca Guadagnino, Editor Walter Fasano & Screenwriter David Kajganich
  • Deleted scenes with commentary from Editor Walter Fasano & Screenwriter David Kajganich
  • Genesis featurette
  • Quartet featurette

A BIGGER SPLASH is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray and is also available now on Digital HD. 

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