A Bigger Splash
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Filled with moral ambiguity and sexual tension, A Bigger Splash is an indulgence for the eyes and mind alike. Set on the idyllic island of Pantelleria, the drama boasts picturesque landscapes as a backdrop against the tragic and vulnerable lives of an erotically charged quartet.
For lovers Marianne (Tilda Swinton) and Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), their retreat to Pantelleria is as close to paradise as they will ever get. Globally-renowned rock star and seemingly powerful woman, Marianne, has been reduced to a whisper after a throat realignment that poses a threat to her legendary career. In a series of glances with no dialogue, Marianne captivates viewers with her graceful onscreen presence and fabulous Dior outfits. Meanwhile her partner Paul, a filmmaker and recovering alcoholic, possesses a deep personal discomfort that eventually weeps into a poisonous downfall for everyone involved.
In retreat from the chaos of reality, each are wounded yet content in each other’s company. Putting an end to the rose-coloured daydream is obnoxious and verbose record producer, Harry (Ralph Fiennes)—Marianne’s ex-lover. His jealous rage at Marianne’s new happiness is revealed in an obsessive and deranged bonhomie, and thus why he invites his flirtatious and tension-provoking daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson).
The film’s intense energy initially creates the perception of a somewhat mystifying, endless party. However, as their imperfections unfold, the characters of this intimidating quartet are isolated into the disparate pairings of lovers and rivals. Jittery, unsteady editing and intense zooms expose each character’s anxieties, while eccentric shots of reflections in sunglasses highlight their deep-rooted disconnection with one another.
Beginning as a tranquil daydream with a glamorous holiday suntan, A Bigger Splash festers into a waking nightmare. Director Luca Guadagnino seduces viewers into a provocative film where beauty does not equal moral virtue and insecurities spiral into self-destruction. The highs are intoxicating, but the comedown is shattering.
See A Bigger Splash at Palace Nova Cinemas from Thursday 24 March.
Words by Adrienne Goode
Tickets courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas.
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