Ralph Fiennes steals the latest melodrama from Tilda Swinton and 'I Am Love' director Luca Guadagnino
Ralph Fiennes follows his devilishly comic performance in 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' with an equally hilarious turn in this Italian set, mostly English-language playful and highly strung melodrama from Luca Guadagnino ('I Am Love'). The film is a remake of the 1969 French film ‘La Piscine’ and it's an endearingly loopy, occasionally half-cooked but always ambitious film about middle-aged characters touched by fame and success, who live in a bubble so decadent that they might get away with murder if they tried.
'I Am Love' star Tilda Swinton reteams with Guadagnino as Marianne, a Bowie-like rock star who's recovering from a throat op – meaning Swinton spends most of the film silent or whispering, lending her a vulnerability we’ve rarely seen until now. Marianne is spending the summer in a villa on an Italian island with her younger boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts, moody and hard to read) when her ex Harry (Fiennes) turns up out of the blue with his newly discovered 22-year-old daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson) in tow. He calls Penelope a 'lovely bit' and soon Marianne is warning him that people might get the wrong idea.
Fiennes's Harry, a music biz veteran, is a nightmare guest to rival Ben Kingsley's Don in 'Sexy Beast'. You can't take your eyes off this livewire, full of energy, stories and confidence. He dominates every second of the day, and Fiennes has a film-stealing scene as he dances open-shirted in the villa's living room lip-synching to the Stones' 'Emotional Rescue'. Old resentments and attractions bubble up, new ones emerge and Guadagnino throws us into a storm of food, music, talk and sexual tension. Before long, a black cloud arrives to block out the sun and stop dead the humour like a needle being kicked off a record player.
As in 'I Am Love', Guadagnino lets rip with bold music, delivers stylistic flourishes that don't always come off and plunges us into the trials and tribulations of a very fashionable beau monde. It's an uneven film and its later, darker moments don't always feel well earned. Occasional allusions to a crisis of illegal immigrants on the island feel awkward and the portrayal of the Italian police is flippant. But this is often a seriously fun film with a shadier side that's ripe for unpicking when the curtain drops.
Cast and crew
Average User Rating
3.2 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:12
- 3 star:13
- 2 star:7
- 1 star:1
Too much nakedness and shagging going on to be honest. A little less body parts and more of a storyline would have been appreciated. Certainly will not be recommending this movie to anyone. Don't go see it!
Very disappointing the film was flat and unengaging Tilda Swimtpm talent wasted by hardly saying anything
While I loved the cinematography of the film the story itself left much to be desired. It was rather predictable and lacked the depth I was hoping to experience. Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton's performances increased my enjoyment of the film but it wasn't enough to make it a must-see film.
Tedious and flat but oddly thought-provoking. It's glossily shot but everything is just depthless surface, which I suppose is some kind of point but hardly satisfying to spend two hours with. Ralph Fiennes is a convincing boor but the migrant crisis seems rather cynically tacked on, Matthias Schoenarts is a lifeless lunk and Tilda Swinton must surely be the world's most boring rock star. The ricotta scene deserves notoriety. There are endless leering 'sexy' shots of Dakota Johnson: what is this, 1974? But you will at least have plenty to talk about once it's (finally) over.
Thoroughly enjoyable and well-made follow-up to I Am Love, with the undoubted highlight of a toe-curlingly brilliant, accurate portrayal of a certain kind of manipulative British middle-aged media type by Ralph Fiennes. Go see it!
The film is a foray into the bubble of the extravagant get away of rock stars and creative types. It certainly is embroiled in self-indulgence and gratification - they are consumed by themselves and each other. The cinematography is stunning, but the story is engulfed by the characters who are remarkably self-centred and unlikable. There are some twists and turns, but they are not surprising considering they are trapped in a house with egoistical maniacs. It simmers well below the surface and no one emerges victorious. It does not splash, it is more of a sprinkle.
What a tedious film.Over acting,wobbly plot,dialogue at times pure drivel and a laughable ending.It really was poor.The film goes straight into a Cul de Sac and cannot get out.Way too much nudity from the metro sexual looking Tilda Swinton.Her androgynous body quite turned my stomach.A redeeming feature was the glorious sunshine and powerful light of Italy.The film meanders,wobbles and finally falls down.Older people like Swinton and Fiennes should really keep their pants on at all times.It is acutely embarrassing when the oldies need to do so much nudity ( l suspect it is to appease their insecurity that they might not be physically desirable anymore) Horrible attempt at film making
“Look Closer” was the tagline used to promote American Beauty in 1999 and it seems like the perfect tagline for Luca Guadagnino's A Bigger Splash. We certainly get a closer physical look at the four protagonists in a style that offers both a feeling of intimacy and disquieting voyeurism. There is also the “looking closer” at the relationships of the characters which dissect and unravel as the film progresses.
The most important act of “looking closer”, however, is to gaze beyond the beautiful surface at the nuances that offer such a rich depth to the film. The drama lies in the looks and gestures, in the unspoken dialogue. One of the most breathtaking scenes in the film occurs after a karaoke night in a bar with the characters leaving together. The youngest of the four, Penelope (Dakota Johnson), continues to walk away from the crowd towards an unseen distance, and smiles, but at what or whom is unclear.
The film's title is inspired by a David Hockney painting, a work that provides mystery in suggestion as the only sign of a protagonist is a splash and an empty chair, asking the spectator to provide the rest. Guadagnino's film functions in a similar way. On the surface is a film that shimmers in sunshine and fun; the photography draws the spectator into the beauty and holiday tranquillity of Pantelleria, and the energy and quality of the performances, particularly Ralph Fiennes' hurricane of exuberance, provide a crowd to gather around the pool with and to be entertained by; a crowd who can seduce and disgust with equal measure.
The depth of the film is crafted through stylistic choices, fascinating writing, and subtle performances. Every piece of the frame is alive with details that can go unnoticed on a first viewing, and I urge a second viewing to really see this film. The editing is frenetic with a mixture of point of view shots, dramatic close-ups and then a sudden cut to observing from outside the circle, luring the viewer into the group but then allowing them to look without manipulation. The dialogue, meaningful and meaningless, and silences are paced almost as in a work for theatre, which the enclosed setting and limited number of characters permits, and played quite wonderfully by the cast who bring a sense of the past, present and future, and the what might have been, to vivid life.
A Bigger Splash may appear to some as shallow, vulgar, slow or vapid, all descriptions I have heard, but a closer examination and a willingness to look beyond the surface rewards with an intriguing examination of human beings and life, reflecting our frailties, regrets, joys and triumphs. And failing that, the sight of Ralph Fiennes dancing is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
This film is the best
For a film where you want to give most of the characters a slap this was actually very enjoyable. At times Ralph Fiennes is so OTT you almost have to watch through your fingers, he is not too far from morphing into Leonard Rossiter. Tilda Swinton proves her class as an actress by propelling the film without words.
Disappointed! The relationships between the characters are interesting, pictures are beautiful, actors are playing really well - everything I usually like in indie movies - however the lack of storyline make the film boring. Something is missing during the film and the end is not good enough to make up for it. Shame!
An incredibly dull film. While "la piscine" was casting two of the most glamorous actors of their time, we have to endure the nude flesh of middle-age retired British artist trying to revive their libido on the wane, sunbathing all day long, mouthing dull statements about their lost fame, and eventually making "splash" in the pool. I left the theatre half way through, and I usually make a point of staying until the end. We could have expected something aesthetic, as in "love", but this is wide off the mark.
Brilliant acting. Ralpf Fiennes and Tilda was amazing. The story itself was a bit confusing. Left many unanswered questions.
I thought it was a good and interesting film. Although in some respects it followed what you would think the obvious narrative would be, I think it provoked thought in the unsaid on a lot of levels.
The cinematography was very good, with great locations throughout. It was a good watch, with some great scenes but not quite enough to warranat a 4 or 5 sta. There were no real twists / deviations of plot, the acting was good but not show stopping so 3 out of 5 seems fair.
I went home still trying to process the film, and perhaps that’s the point, it is a very art house type of movie after all. The film is based on an intertwining of what appear to be very intense relationships of past and present. I didn't feel that much really happened in the film though, there was no moment where I felt a definite climax and I sat through it waiting for a point to the story. It's shot in a nice setting and the actors are all great, but the storyline is lacking anything engaging enough to draw you in.
Storyline was unfortunately too predictable but Ralph Fiennes dancing to Rolling Stones was making up for it
Lusciously shot in a hostile Sicilian landscape,this is darkly comic with a cast of infuriatingly selfish and amoral characters.With a counter-intuitive score, tantalizing close -ups and an immaculately clad Tilda Swinton at centre stage,the tangled relationships play out like a voyeuristic travelogue.At times overblown but never boring,there is enough exploration of flawed human behaviour to linger over and discuss long after the credits roll.
A movie of quiet envy and selfish people. If you like Antonioni-style awkward silences, lustful gazes and the unpredictability of bitterness then you will love this. If you want a nice movie about rock stars with a redemptive moral at the end of the film then this probably isn't for you but I found it exciting because the story didn't go where you thought it would go. It chose instead, to follow the characters diligently and regardless of whether they were consistent or even pleasant. All four lead actors were great. I wanted to agree with the director during the Q&A, that Ralph Fiennes played a very different character from normal but I thought about it on the way home and he doesn't really play the same type twice. Even so, he really let's rip here. Go watch it and make up your own mind.
Loved the movie. The acting was brilliant (was awesome in particular to see Ralph Fiennes play a type of character we haven't seen him play before), and the setting itself played a massive part in bringing the directors' vision to life. Really enjoyed it.
A movie to watch for the fabulous acting, fabulous scenery and fabulous cinematography, but not for the storyline, which is really just an excuse to allow the former. The ending is particularly disappointing as it feels rushed and out of balance with the rest of the film.
With Ralph Fiennes being my favourite actor, I had expectations from him and Tilda Swinton, but wasn't sure how everything else would turn out. I ended up enjoying myself immensely. This is a role you've never imagined someone like Ralph Fiennes could play - a comedic exuberance that takes the glimpses we saw in his Monsieur Gustav from The Grand Budapest Hotel to a whole other level. The way the island was integrated as almost a fifth character was also something I found extremely interesting. The Q&A with director Luca Guadagnino rounded up the evening and shed light on certain aspects. All in all, this is one of those movies that stands out and you remember for a long time, with a distinctly European cinematic feel.
Ralph Fiennes puts in a superb performance as the rock and roll lothario Harry, Tilda Swinton's muted rock singer captivates, but something does feel lacking in this tale of four distinct characters on an Italian island. Still, there was enough there to keep me interested and entertained.
Predictable. So predictable l wanted to laugh.
One would think creative people are not making "seen it al before" movies! But there we have it.
Old woman with young boyfriend + old man with young daughter. Middle of nowhere, middle of hot summer, every one is horny. See where this is going? Person A goes with C, person B goes with D. Its like "Stealing Beauty", "Cruel Intentions" and "Viki, Cristina, Barcelona" but slow. With close ups here and there.
Two stars for the camera work on beautiful scenery and good music.
Best moments of the movie were the ones where actors had no dialog.
This is contemporary Italian cinema is at its best. If you liked I am Love or The Great Beauty then you'll love this film. It's based on a 70's French movie with Alain Delon but it's very British in its content and in its eccentric characters. The director, Luca Guadagnino, uses a mix of genres (sometimes comedy, sometimes thriller, sometimes romance) and a fantastic Rock' Roll soundtrack, to take the characters from their idyllic Sicilian holiday to a much darker place. Also features 4 amazing actors...often with no clothes on.
It was amazing. I've seen it yesterday and I am still constantly thinking about some of the scenes. There were quite a few small, but highly noticeable tricks with the camera which I simply loved. Actors were fantastic, and (spoiler alert) We also saw the real Elder Wand.
The ending was unexpected but there have been some hints during the film.
Not a film II would have rushed to see , but I really enjoyed last night's Time Out Card screening. A bigger splash has so much going for it. Superficially entertaining , beautifully shot and with a great soundtrack - but below lurks a story that explores human , emotional and ethical boundaries. Ralph Fiennes dancing to The Rolling Stones Emotional Rescue is the highlight of the piece. The whole cast are excellent in a tantalising / sexy way. What really made the night for me was the Q and A conducted by Dave Calhoun with Director, Luca Guadagnino. Relaxed, funny, informative. What a good way to spend a Tuesday evening !