Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

A Bigger Splash

A Bigger Splash is the new indie movie featuring Tilda Swinton, whom we will generally go to see anytime. We went to see it at the Oriental Theatre Saturday evening, June 4th. In this film, Swinton plays Marianne, a famous rock singer, who has just had throat surgery in an attempt to save her failing voice. She and her lover, Paul, (Matthias Schoenaerts) are living in seclusion on the Italian island of Pantelleria, in hopes of a peaceful and quiet convalescence. This dream goes glimmering when they are descended upon by Harry (Ralph Feinnes), Marianne’s former producer and also former lover. He is accompanied by an attractive young woman (Dakota Johnson), who Marianne and Paul are surprised to find is Harry’s recently discovered daughter, Penelope.

Marianne is not supposed to be talking while recovering; Paul is a reticent fellow, and Penelope is sulky, so Harry (Feinnes) has as much dialog as the other three put together. Harry is a manic personality, seeming determined to be the life of the party even if no one else wants a party. He’s also an incessant manipulator, wheedler and grifter. When you notice that his blizzard of verbiage includes frequent digs at Paul, and references to the “good old days” when, coincidently, he and Marianne were together, that his purpose becomes clear. Marianne and Paul think they know Harry, and think they owe Harry, and so are inclined to tolerate his presence. We viewers, not burdened with that baggage, can quickly tell that Harry is using his verbal tools to try to drive wedges between Paul and Marianne so that he can get Marianne back. Further, he’s brought Penelope along in order to try to distract Paul while he does it.

The movie is a complex and multilayered story of seduction, misdirection, and desperation. Lushly photographed, the film contrasts the austere beauty of Pantelleria, with the sensuous bodies and lifestyles of the characters. All of the main characters have nude or semi-nude scenes, tastefully done and in context, though definitely adult. Again, the narcissistic Harry has the most and longest scenes, including the “full Monty”. (Fortunately, Mr. Feinnes has a pretty good body, especially for a 52-year old man--.)

The plot works out to a tragic climax, redeemed by an ironic and timely twist ending. Highly recommended for adult viewers with a taste for drama.

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Tags: movies
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