This director must of loved “Sexy Beast” like I did.

A Bigger Splash stars Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin, Adaptation), Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone, Bullhead), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Grand Budapest Hotel), Dakota Johnson (50 Shades of Grey, How to Be Single) and is directed by Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, Melissa P.)

Marianne (Swinton) and her husband (Schoenaerts) are enjoying a romantic getaway in Italy, until an old friend (Fiennes) and his daughter (Johnson) disturb their holiday and get inbetween their relationship.

This film has a great cast of four excellent performers, a highly praised director and it currently sits at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. It had all the potential to be one of my favorite of the year but instead it was just good. I just had the same experience with “King Jack”, where I got really excited for a summer indie film that I thought was going to be amazing but turned out to be, not that good .

Like I stated in my opening line, this film clearly took huge inspiration from the 2000 film “Sexy Beast”. The story borrows some elements and it practically looks like the same film. That’s not a negative because I loved Sexy Beast and visually this film is beautiful to look at. Italy looks great and almost all the locations the film takes you are stunning, as you would expect.  It’s just a shame the story wasn’t as jaw-dropping as the cinematography.

Performance wise everyone is really good but Ralph Fiennes comes into this film and blows everyone away. To keep the Sexy Beast comparison going, he plays the Ben Kingsley role (just not as evil) and like Kingsley, he is chewing scenery the moment he walks into shot. Ralph Fiennes has been taking more comedic roles lately and he’s showing a hilarious side to him, I wish he had shown earlier. This was one of the funnest characters to watch on screen all year and there’s a certain dance scene that brought a huge smile to my face.

Tilda Swinton’s character is a singer who has recently had surgery and can only speak in whispers. So because of that she has a very quiet role to play and has to rely on facial expressions and body language to tell her characters story. Of course this is no problem for Swinton but there is a problem, in that A Bigger Splash presents the right way and the wrong way to portray unlikable characters…

… Ralph Fiennes plays a guy you’re not supposed to like but he’s so much fun to watch, you can’t help but have a good time. Everyone else however aren’t good people and are really boring. Despite good performances Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson play really dull people, who wonder around pools doing nothing. They’re not likable people especially the Johnson character and I didn’t want to spend a single second with them.

This film takes a twist in the third act and it doesn’t work at all. Not only does it loose any fun it had but it also doesn’t make sense for the characters involved. I liked that the film didn’t spell everything out to you but at a point some characters motivations seemed completely unbelievable and how they wrap this film up is ridiculous.

A Bigger Splash runs for just over 2 hours and didn’t need to. It took a really long time for anything to happen, which could have at least scraped off 15 minutes and although it didn’t take up much time, there’s a weird subplot about refugees that felt awkward, out of place and underdeveloped.

I didn’t really like this film but Ralph Fiennes is so good, you should watch it for that performance alone. A Bigger Splash is pretty boring but good performances make it slightly watchable.


Have you seen A Bigger Splash and what did you think of it?

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