A Bigger Splash
DIRECTOR: LUCA GUADAGNINO
CAST: TILDA SWINTON, RALPH FIENNES, DAKOTA JOHNSON, MATTHIAS SCHOENAERTS
Reunited with the star of his 2009 I Am Love, Tilda Swinton, Guadagnino produced this tense, elegant sun-splashed psychological drama inspired by Jacques Deray’s 1969 La Piscine and the work of David Hockney. It’s head games a-plenty at an isolated villa on a Sicilian island where Swinton’s celebrity rocker has holed away with her troubled lover, Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), rendered mute by recent surgery, and her old flame, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), who’s barged onto the scene with a previously unknown daughter (Dakota Johnson) in tow, as well as mysterious motives. Languidly sensual and sinister, with a superb Swinton channeling a combination of Bowie and Marianne Faithfull.
This movie, a response to La Piscine, just hits all the notes: sexy, saturated, grounded but still visually heightened. In the “beautiful people going to beautiful houses in beautiful places” genre, this one is killer. It’s fun, too, to think of David Hockney as the visual intelligence hovering behind this movie: the rippling surfaces of the pool, the sun-bleached architecture. And Ralph Fiennes dancing to Emotional Rescue is a perfect scene, a perfect performance.