I’ve been complaining recently in some of my posts that I’m sick of movies featuring winter and snow. So thank the lord for A Bigger Splash which is set in summertime Italy. But will the warmer setting be the only bright spot?
Rock star Marianne (Tilda Swinton) and her lover Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) are enjoying a holiday in Italy as Marianne recovers from surgery on her throat. However their quiet holiday is thrown into chaos when an old friend (and ex lover of Marianne) Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson) arrive unexpectedly.
I was worried that this movie would be a pretentious story about rich people on holiday moaning, however this feeling was largely subsided as the film started. I found the dynamics of the four characters really interesting as the various relationship develops while resentment and conflicts deepens.
Throughout the movie your eyes are completely drawn to Finnes, no matter what else is going on in the scenes. His Harry is a whirwind of energy and is a mixture of the best holiday companion and the worst. Finnes physicality is great, the scenes of Harry dancing about to music is one of the best scenes of the film-even though it’s simple, it just sets up his character so much. His love for music and how he’s a whirlwind of desire and passion. Swinton is also mesmarising, able to convey her emotions even though her character can barely speak above a whispher. Johnson is also impressive as the sensual Penelope. I found her to be the most intreaging character as I was never quite sure what she was thinking or what her motives were. Schoenaerts’ Paul is the weakest of the four and the least interetsing. But the four work well together in their different dynamics.
The film works best when the story is simple and the scenes are just of the characters conversing with underlying tension. As the movie tries to force the plot and add a dramatic moment the film becomes less engaging in it’s final act.
Rating 3.5/5 – a finely crafted drama-thriller that loses it’s way in the last third of the movie