A Bigger Splash
Directed by Luca Guadagnino. Italy. 2015. R. 125 minutes. Fox Searchlight. Digital.
Sat., July 16, 2016 thru Thu., July 21, 2016
“Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagninos sultry, elegant 2009 I Am Love featured a luminous Tilda Swinton as a proper society wife hesitating, at midlife, before leaping toward freedom and happiness. Swinton returns in Guadagninos stylish, bittersweet romantic-intrigue drama A Bigger Splash, only this time, her characterMarianne, a bold, androgynous rock staris so used to taking risks that she needs a spot of rest. Recovering from throat surgery, she retreats on holiday to an Italian island with her lover, Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts, sturdy and sensitive). Shes unable to speak above a whisper, but her moods are always readable without words, anyway: In an early, blissful scene, she stretches naked upon a rock, a pale moon goddess surrendering to the sun.
This must be Eden. So wheres the snake? He shows up, like a Dionysian whirlwind, in the form of Mariannes ex, Harry (a superb, sexy Ralph Fiennes), a force of nature who used to produce records for the Rolling Stones. Hes brought his daughter with him, one he didnt even know he had until recently, because sometimes rocknroll is just like that: Dakota Johnsons Penelope is pure trouble in a see-through bra top, and her relationship with her father strains at the boundaries of propriety. A Bigger Splasha loose remake of Jacques Derays 1969 Eurosizzler La Piscine, with Alain Delon, Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin is less finely wrought than I Am Love, but it brings its share of hedonist pleasures. Swinton is, as usual, coolly magnetic. And once again, Guadagnino concentrates on exploring the range of colors to be found in romantic tension, anxiety and bliss. Hes especially attuned to the place where sensual and platonic love intersector must part ways. The picture is at times loose and wayward, as if it has lost its way a bit on a winding rocky path, and it ends on an uncertain note that may not be fully satisfying. But its flaws are blurred by its vibrating, sensual energy. The best approach is to let yourself fall, eyes wide open, into its Mediterranean-blue depths.” (Stephanie Zacharek, Time)
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