Luca Guadagnino, who directed the well received I Am Love, is back with A Bigger Splash. In tow she’s got Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson and Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead). Sounds like a winning combo to me.
“Thick” is probably the best way to describe A Bigger Splash. Not so much on the plot-front, that’s actually easy enough to follow. Marianne Lane (played brilliantly by Tilda Swinton) is a rock star on a post-throat surgery sabbatical in Italy with her boyfriend Paul (played coyly by Matthias Schoenaerts), and things couldn’t be better. The two of them are hanging out naked by the pool and enjoying just being with themselves and out of the spotlight. Then, because it’s a movie and no one can just be happy, Harry (played shiftily by Ralph Fiennes) shows up with his daughter (played precociously by Dakota Johnson) and everything just goes to shit. Old drama gets dug up, things happen that can’t be undone and before everyone knows it, their lives are forever changed. It’s a good story, one that’s full of ambiguous characters and an ending that arrives from outer space like a SpaceX rocket. It’s in the presentation of the story where I think the film might prove to be a bit much for some. The pace is deliberately slow, as director Luca Guadagnino methodically rolls out a dense tale of jealousy and all-out weirdness, and by the time the point of all it jumps out and flips on the light for you, you’re already exhausted by the whole damn thing. I walked out mostly sure that I liked the film, but I’d be a liar if I said I haven’t flipped flopped back and forth on it about 100 times since my screening. See it, but be sure to prep yourself for a meandering film that will test your patience.
One Last Thought:
A Bigger Splash has 300% more Ralph Fiennes penis than I was expecting to experience. Then again, I suppose I’m not ever really expecting to see his dude bits in any flick, so it’s possible that this stat of mine is useless.