Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, and Dakota Johnson star in the English-language debut from director of I Am Love (Luca Guadagnino). Titled after a famous David Hockney painting and loosely based on Jacques Deray’s 1969 thriller, The Swimming Pool, A Bigger Splash is a sensuous portrait of desire, jealousy, and rock and roll under the Mediterranean sun.
On the island of Pantelleria in the south of Sicily — an isolated, rocky terrain that swelters during the long, hot summer — celebrated rock star Marianne Lane (Swinton) is holidaying with her lover, Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), while recuperating from throat surgery. Paul is in recovery too, getting over a car crash that nearly killed him. But their hermitage is interrupted by the arrival of Harry Hawkes (Fiennes), Marianne’s former lover and a world-famous music producer. Accompanied by Penelope (Johnson), who may or may not be his long-lost daughter, Harry is one of those people you either love or loathe. Bombastic, charming, and loud, he is a force of nature, and Fiennes is superb in the role. Over the course of a few days, sexual tensions mount, past secrets are revealed, loyalties are transferred, clothes are shed, and Rolling Stones songs are performed. Following the basic elements of Deray’s film with reasonable fidelity, Guadagnino headily subverts and augments them with hugely entertaining results. In English and Italian with subtitles.
(Italy & France / 2015 / Directed by Luca Guadagnino)
R / 124 mins.