A Bigger Splash
Luca Guadagnino’s remake of a 1960s French classic is a smart, sassy and finds both Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton on top form.
Rock star Marianne Lane (Swinton) is recovering from a throat operation in a villa on a small Italian island with her lover Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts). The tranquillity of the place is destroyed by the arrival of Harry (Fiennes), a boisterous music promoter and Marianne’s former lover. He’s joined by Pen (Dakota Johnson), the daughter he only recently realised he had. Although the four initially appear to get on, attractions and rivalries soon set them against each other, with harry reviling in the chaos. But as jealousy turns to rage, the mood in this coastal idyl gradually darkens.
Swinton’s ongoing collaboration with I Am Love director Guadagnino once again finds her excelling at playing troubled characters. Likewise, Schoenaerts and Johnson impress as the younger, less jaded duo. But it’s Fiennes, playing Harry as a wild force of nature, that drives the film. A loose adaptation of Jacques Dettay’s La Piscine – which takes its name from the 1967 David Hockney painting and Jack Hazan’s subsequent 1973 documentary portrait of the artist – Guadagnino’s singular drama is a rich and exotic pleasure.