In A BIGGER SPLASH, the lives of a high profile couple, a famous rock star (Tilda Swinton) and a filmmaker (Matthias Schoenaerts), vacationing and recovering on the idyllic sun-drenched and remote Italian island of Pantelleria, are disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old friend (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter (Dakota Johnson) - creating a whirlwind of jealousy, passion and, ultimately, danger for everyone involved. Written by
The Rolling Stones helped with the script. Work with the band began with the filmmakers screening Io sono l'amore (2009) for Mick Jagger and the rest of the band to introduce them to Luca Guadagnino's work. Jagger was intrigued. Ralph Fiennes was also friendly with Jagger and the duo went on a pilgrimage to a Stones concert in Rome to pitch A Bigger Splash. According to the film's producer Michael Costigan, it went even better than they could have ever hoped. Mick and Ronnie Wood, particularly, were so excited about the movie and about Ralph's character, he actually got a couple of notes back from Mick and from Ronnie so that the dialogue would be so authentic, in terms of describing the recording sessions that Harry discusses. When he puts the record on, Harry is now relaying some authentic details from the original recording sessions that the Stones provided. See more »
The position of Pen's arms change when they encounter the strange men on their hike. See more »
She's the woman of the century. And I'm talking about her soul now.
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Throughout the credits, and at random intervals, there are images of stylised flowers, particularly noticeable in the section listing soundtrack items. See more »
A remake of Jacques Deray's 'La Piscine' (1969), 'A Bigger Splash' has attracted some big names: Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Matthias Schoenaerts make it a star-spangled vehicle indeed.
Recuperating rock star Marianne Lane (Swinton) is on holiday with her lover Paul (Schoenaerts) when their peace and quiet is destroyed by that worst of all afflictions: the uninvited guest. In this case it's Harry Hawkes (Fiennes), Marianne's former producer and lover, who wants to show off his newly-discovered daughter Penelope (Johnson). As the quartet - joined for a time by two more women whom Harry takes it upon himself to invite - cavort under the Italian sun, conversations are held, secrets revealed and betrayals occur.
This is very much an actors' film, and Fiennes does a splendid job as the over-enthusiastic, noisy Harry; I wanted to punch him after about five minutes. Johnson does her best with the standard femme fatale role, and Schoenaerts is perfectly competent. Star of the show, however, is definitely Swinton, who has very few lines (her character is supposed to refrain from speaking after a throat operation) but as she's in most scenes is required to get Marianne's opinions across through facial expression, miming, and sheer force of personality, which she manages splendidly.
This is an engrossing film, with an interesting plot, good acting and lovely scenery (and not just of the countryside variety, either - all four leads get their kit off at some point, although I could have done with fewer such scenes from Mr Fiennes - he's in relatively good nick for a chap in his fifties, but things are starting to sag!) It's strange, though, that an Italian/French co-production is mainly in the English language!
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