Film Review: A Bigger Splash

A Bigger Spalsh

Director of the Academy Award-nominated “I am Love”, Luca Guadagnino returns with A Bigger Splash, starring Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson (pictured, above), Matthias Schoenaerts and Ralph Fiennes:

You know how you’ve got that one friend that is filled with enthusiasm, that is brimming with verve… with energy… with joie de vivre? The friend that does crazy things on instinct, that is the life and soul of the party and is absolutely hilarious? You know how you equally adore that friend but cannot bear to stand more than about five minutes in their company? Well, that is Ralph Fiennes’ character, Harry, in this film.

Rock legend Marianne Lane (Swinton) is recuperating on the island of Pantelleria with her boyfriend Paul (Schoenaerts) when her record producer ex (Fiennes) unexpectedly turns up with his daughter Penelope (Johnson) and interrupts their previously peaceful holiday. Like a whirlwind, he turns their world upside down to the point where his presence goes from being a mildly amusing irritant to something far more sinister.

A Bigger Splash is worth seeing for Fiennes’ performance alone. It is one of the best of his career, which is no small compliment. He steals every scene with his non-stop enthusing, reminiscing and madcap antics, while Tilda Swinton counterbalances this as the vocalist who isn’t allowed to speak at all after a throat operation. For most of the film she communicates through a series of increasingly bewildered facial expressions. As always, she is superb.

While Dakota Johnson’s young siren seems slightly caricatured and owes a debt to Ludivine Sagnier in Swimming Pool, she is a real talent who can smoulder with the best of them and her character becomes more well rounded and important to the narrative as it reaches a climax. 

The film is intriguing and engaging and, to be honest, it is enjoyable to simply watch a really strong cast of actors putting in stellar performances and having fun in the Mediterranean sun.

A Bigger Splash is in Australian cinemas from March 24 and is already out in the UK.

bobby townsend


Review by Bobby Townsend.