By Liz Lopez
Rating: B –
A Bigger Splash, by the Italian director Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love), is set on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria, and is a remake of a 1969 French thriller. Tilda Swinton (I Am Love, Only Lovers Left Alive) stars as Marianne Lane, a rock star recovering from recent throat surgery and is on holiday with her photographer boyfriend, Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) in a rented villa. Their heavenly retreat is interrupted by a drop-in visit from Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes), her former music producer/lover and his daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson, 50 Shades of Grey) who lies about her age. The initial mistake begins when Marianne invites them to stay in their villa and both Harry and Penelope seem to have their agenda for this trip. From Harry’s advances towards Marianne, to Penelope’s gaga – eyes for Paul, the audience can pretty much anticipate this vacation is not going to end well.
Fiennes is excellent as Harry! He is an actor who I never tire of viewing, as he always provides dynamic performances for each unique character he portrays. As a music producer, he is seen dancing to a Rolling Stones album from Marianne’s stash of vinyl, skinny dipping in the pool or telling stories from his (or their) past. Just watching Paul’s face as he is hearing the stories, one can tell this is not exactly his idea of holiday entertainment.
Swinton excels in so many scenes as she conveys so much with her facial expressions, as she does not speak during many scenes in the film. I do find it hard to buy into her portrayal of a rock star. I am not convinced from the scenes I viewed.
I enjoyed watching Schoenaerts so much more with his quiet, sexy air about him and I have seen this in several of the films he is a part of, The Danish Girl, Far from the Madding Crowd, Rust and Bone, plus Bullhead, the Oscar nominated film.
I am curious why the screenwriter included a couple of scenes of illegal North African migrants among so much wealth and social privilege. I may have missed the purpose during the film, but I did not find one other than to demonstrate the obvious for many countries in Europe dealing with immigration.
I am not ruling out watching this dramatic film because there are some truly great performances, but there is no doubt in my mind this will not appeal to a broad audience in the United States.
The film opens in Austin at the Violet Crown Cinema, Regal Arbor and Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar.
Source: Fox Searchlight