A Bigger Splash


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

A Bigger Splash
"You have to care for these people to give a damn. That's hard."

Sea, sun and Spumante signifies only one thing - foreplay.

Movies about rich people on hols have a limited appeal to poor people in cold countries. What do you do in a rented villa on an Italian island with exquisite views of the Med and sunsets to cry for? You hang around the pool thinking about sex, or roll around a designer bedroom doing it.

Copy picture

Marianne (Tilda Swinton) is a pop diva, disillusioned with touring and, to an extent, the music biz. Her hot date is Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), a filmmaker of the strong-but-silent variety. The sex is great; the intellectual repartee less so.

Enter Harry (Ralph Fiennes), her ex producer/lover, a bearded barrage of badass banter, with his nubile teenage daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson).

Paul has the gentle touch. Harry is a bully. Although his liaison with Marianne has lost its lovin' feeling the spark is not entirely dead. She is wary. He enjoys the challenge. Paul watches and waits. What for? Betrayal? Commitment? Jealousy?

With such a small cast and a smaller location, where's the drama? You have to care for these people to give a damn. That's hard.

Swinton carries Marianne's fame with ease. Fiennes goes over the top with abandon. Schoenaerts smoulders.

What about Penelope? At first she is mistaken for one of Harry's conquests before he reveals her true identity after which she enters the game, if that is what this is, as a wild card.

Fiennes' performance may astonish because it is so unlike anything he has done before. Harry, however, is one of those life-and-soul loudmouths who wreck parties and display the confidence of a randy rooster. Refusing to take no for an answer may work in the boardroom but in the soft sensuality of a lazy summer idyll it causes damage. Fatal damage.

Reviewed on: 10 Feb 2016
Share this with others on...
A Bigger Splash packshot
A rock star's holiday is interrupted by the arrival of her old flame and his daughter.
Amazon link

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Writer: David Kajganich, based on the story by Alain Page

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts, Dakota Johnson, Aurore Clément, Corrado Guzzanti, Lily McMenamy, Elena Bucci

Year: 2015

Runtime: 120 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Italy, France

Search database:

Related Articles:

Venice 2015: Emotional highs

If you like this, try:

La Piscine