A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. With the help of a customer service rep and her young son, he starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.
Maggie 's plan to have a baby on her own is derailed when she falls in love with John, a married man, destroying his volatile marriage to the brilliant and impossible Georgette. But one ... See full summary »
Emma left Russia to live with her husband in Italy. Now a member of a powerful industrial family, she is the respected mother of three, but feels unfulfilled. One day, Antonio, a talented chef and her son's friend, makes her senses kindle.
In France, lovers Marianne and Jean-Paul spend their vacation in a villa near St-Tropez. Marianne invites her former lover, Harry, and his teenage daughter to stay. Tension rises between them, especially when Jean-Paul seduces Penelope.
The untold true story behind the meeting between Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n Roll, and President Richard Nixon, resulting in this revealing, yet humorous moment immortalized in the most requested photograph in the National Archives.
In A BIGGER SPLASH, the lives of a high profile couple, a famous rock star (Tilda Swinton) and a filmmaker (Matthias Schoenaerts), vacationing and recovering on the idyllic sun-drenched and remote Italian island of Pantelleria, are disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old friend (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter (Dakota Johnson) - creating a whirlwind of jealousy, passion and, ultimately, danger for everyone involved. Written by
Four actors (the main cast), their director and an Italian crew were stuck together for eight weeks. At one point, the underwater camera needed for the climactic scene didn't work, and they had to wait a week for a replacement. Matthias Schoenaerts felt uncomfortable and trapped, Tilda Swinton was calm and later described it as "like an extended family holiday". Ralph Fiennes, who loved their individual houses built into the rocks, didn't want to leave. See more »
Paul De Smedt:
We're all obscene. Everyone's obscene. That's the whole fucking point. We see it and we love each other anyway.
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The director's prior "I Am Love" ultimately transcended its more pretentious, arbitrary aspects with a certain feeling of epic emotionality. But this time around there isn't enough substance or originality in other departments to detract attention from how...well, pretentious and arbitrary many of his directorial choices are. To an extent there's interest in simply watching the well-cast stars go through their paces: Fiennes plays one of his most extroverted characters; Swinton has magnetism as usual in a contrasting figure (contrasting because her rock-star has to be silent while recovering from surgery--but a laughable flashback where she sings in a recording studio blows any belief that we're watching a credible musical talent); Schoenaerts is attractive and earnest; Johnson is good playing a petulant brat who uses her sexual allure in obvious (yet successful) ways. If you've ever wanted to see any of these actors full-frontal, here's your big chance, since there's a lot of nudity here that doesn't seem to exist for much reason beyond producing a "Look, s/he's taken it all off, too!" reaction.
But after a while you realize that as colorfully played as these figures are, none of them are drawn with enough depth to be genuinely interesting, and in fact they're largely annoying--to each other, and to us. It's predictable that the 2nd, vaguely incestuous "couple" who make an invasive surprise visit are going to disrupt the idyll and emotional security of the main couple who have hoped to escape just such company. It's predictable that there will be infidelity, and that sooner or later something violent is going to happen. Yet it's very hard to care about any of this.
That the director thinks his actors/characters are endlessly fascinating is obvious--otherwise why on Earth would he stage scenes like the one in which two of them invade a karaoke bar, and though neither of them can sing very well, we're supposed to believe they quickly have half the island populace raptly watching their performance? Judging from "I Am Love" and this, I've got to assume the director himself is a product of jet-setting wealth who automatically assumes the wealthy and privileged are special, fascinating creatures. Yet "Bigger Splash" inadvertently provides the truthful end to that sentence: "...only to each other."
In terms of image and editing, the film is flashy in often pointless, mannered ways that to my mind are neither beautiful or interesting...just show-offy and empty, the flourishes of a director who thinks flamboyant stylistic gestures = a true "artist," without worrying what they actually MEAN, if anything. (He's made a documentary about Bertolucci, and while the latter has certainly made some uneven, mannered work, he comes by instinctively everything that Guadagnino does in an imitative, pretentious way.) Of course, some will be taken in by it, since some people will always fall for Art that labels itself as such.
For all the talent it deploys, though, "Bigger Splash" is ultimately just a particularly pretentious variation on "erotic thriller" material, without much real tension, and certainly without any real substance. It's not terrible, but it's ultimately pretty trivial.
By the way, if you want a laugh, read Luca Guadagnino's Wikipedia bio. It's one of those Wiki entries that sounds like it was written by the subject (and/or his publicist), as it solemnly gushes over his "curiosity and passion for diverse artistic disciplines" including the company he founded that "conceives and implements luxury communications for luxury brands." I didn't know about THAT before, but it sure isn't surprising that he'd have a background in high-end advertising, the center of the universe for pretentious stylistic gestures about nothing.
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