A Bigger Splash (2015)

R   |    |  Drama, Thriller

A Bigger Splash (2015) Poster

The vacation of a famous rock star and her boyfriend in Italy is disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old friend and his daughter.

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  • Tilda Swinton at an event for A Bigger Splash (2015)
  • Dakota Johnson in A Bigger Splash (2015)
  • Anna Mouglalis at an event for A Bigger Splash (2015)
  • Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton in A Bigger Splash (2015)
  • Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton in A Bigger Splash (2015)
  • Dakota Johnson at an event for A Bigger Splash (2015)

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17 February 2016 | davidgee
| Bigger splash - biggest yawn
Rock-star Marianne (Tilda Swinton) is recuperating on an Italian island after throat surgery, with her film-maker lover (Mattias Schoenaerts) for company. Then an ex of hers turns up, loud and boozy record-producer Harry (Ralph Fiennes), with his nymphette daughter (Dakota Johnson). Marianne can only speak in whispers, but Harry could - and does - talk for England. The reunion rapidly turns from jolly reminiscence to sullen silences and naked confrontation.

Emphasize the 'naked'. There are a lot of nude swimming scenes. Ralph Fiennes who, with or without his kit on, plays the whole movie in manic overdrive. Matthias and Dakota have lower-key roles and are easier to watch. Despite concert and studio flashbacks I never for a moment believed in Swinton as a rock goddess - she's meant to be a sort of female Bowie. Swinton, like a latter-day Katherine Hepburn, brings energy and a kind of dry mockery to most of her roles: admirable but not always likable.

This is a remake of a 1969 French movie, LA PISCINE, which starred Alain Delon in the Schoenaerts role. There are strong echoes too of the identically titled 2003 Charlotte Rampling picture SWIMMING POOL, which had a similar slow-burning intensity. A BIGGER SPLASH has a cast of attractive people playing unattractive mind-games in a picturesque setting. Clever but boring.

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Did You Know?


Screenwriter David Kajganich was on set and also has an executive producer credit on this film. Kajganich ended up being a part of nearly every phase of the production, including post. He was there for a lot of the scouting, for physical prep, and for prep with the actors. During the shoot, he was on set every day making tweaks and adjusting to production needs, and he was also in the editing room with director Luca Guadagnino and editor Walter Fasano, and for some of the ADR sessions. David Kajganich told that this is how Guadagnino likes to work, and it requires so much trust between the writer and director, and such a level of openness and in his experience, directors aren't usually built this way, most directors he met have this fever of ego and insecurity, while Guadagnino has a great sense of play and fairness.


Paul De Smedt: Harry, come on, that's a grave.
Harry Hawkes: Yeah, well, Europe is a grave.


Penelope tells everyone she is 22 years old and her passport shows a birth date in November 1993, which is consistent with her being 22 in 2015. Later, the police state that Penelope is actually only 17. However, no issue is raised about her having a fraudulent passport (which is a serious matter) and she is allowed to fly home seemingly without penalty. Not even a scolding.

Crazy Credits

Throughout the credits, and at random intervals, there are images of stylised flowers, particularly noticeable in the section listing soundtrack items.


Worried About You
Written by
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Performed by Tilda Swinton
Published by EMI Music Publishing Ltd.


Plot Summary


Drama | Thriller

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