A Bigger Splash

DRAMA; 2hr 4min

STARRING: Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson, Matthias Schoenaerts

Lounge act: Swinton

Tilda Swinton, a rock star? Why not? The lady is a consummate shape-shifter. As Marianne, reduced to whispers after throat surgery and holidaying with her handsome, attentive partner, filmmaker Paul (Schoenaerts), in the paradisical wildness of the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria, Swinton is as languid as a sunning lizard. Then record producer and blast-from-the-past Harry (Fiennes, utterly hyper: who knew?), turns up with his sensual 22-year-old daughter, Penelope (Johnson), and plants a rocket under the lot of them. Harry is Marianne's ex, a trying livewire who loves to relive his glory days. It also turns out, in flashbacks, that he introduced Paul to Marianne, for which he is now kicking himself.


The deceptively lazy scene is ideally set with a cool cast, an evocative location and a cluster bomb of emo-sexual ramifications (suggested by 1969's La Piscine), around which director Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) circles and circles like a speculative shark. Locked into the vacuum of vacation mode, it seems to take an destabilising eternity for the foursome to reach their shocking destination. Not so much a splash, then, as the toxic drip of time.