A Bigger Splash (2016)

December 27, 2016

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson, Matthias Schoenaerts
Director: Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love)

Bottom Line: This movie probably isn’t on most people’s radar, but I decided to check out A Bigger Splash after seeing it on someone’s (I can’t remember whose) Best Films of 2016 list. Tilda Swinton plays a world renowned rock star that goes on vacation with her recovering boyfriend (Schoenaerts) to a remote island in Italy after losing her voice, but their tranquil plans are turned upside down when her former lover (Fiennes) and his daughter (Johnson) show up unexpectedly, stirring up a bevy of mixed emotions and attractions.

I was actually quite entertained by this movie even though it has a rather slow pace and focuses almost entirely on human interaction. There was enough tension and mystique to keep me enthralled. Plus, it was fun to see Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes play against type. Swinton is almost always subdued and mysterious in the roles I’ve seen her in and even though she is speaking in a whisper throughout most of this film, I saw more personality from her than I think I’ve ever seen before. Fiennes is best known for playing Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series and is usually cast in more serious roles, but he really gets to chew some scenery here with a very loose, bawdy, and somewhat comedic character. I read that he snap-accepted the part after reading just a few pages of the script and seeing that he was going to have an extensive dance scene. Dakota Johnson plays Fiennes’ daughter and doesn’t drift too far from her 50 Shades role of Anastasia Steele, as she spends most of her screen time looking sultry and tempting the men around her, including her father, whom she has been estranged from her whole life until recently.

A Bigger Splash is a fun, but intimate film that explores fame, human relationships, jealousy and temptation. The small cast all give pretty fun performances and the story is interesting enough that you will want to see what happens to these people. This one is obviously not for the action junkies.

Grade: 6/10 (recommended)

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