A Bigger Splash

A cast of beautiful actors at the top of their game, an exotic windswept Sicilian island, and a stunning wardrobe created by Christian Dior come together to provide dazzling results in the Italian sleeper film, “A Bigger Splash”. Loosely based on the 1969 French crime drama “La Piscine”, the new film, directed by Luca Guadagnino, stars Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson. This is the second time Guadagnino and Swinton have worked together, after the much-lauded “I Am Love” from 2009. 

Tilda Swinton portrays rock star Marianne Lane, who’s recuperating from a vocal cord operation with her filmmaker partner on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria, when an old friend arrives with his precocious teenage daughter. They interrupt the convalescing couple’s much needed rest, and the group dynamic begins to fray immediately, as past relationships and emotional wounds resurface to infuse the gathering with a fraught, nerve-wracking tension. Temporarily mute after throat surgery, Marianne serves as the eerily quiet center of jealousy that dangerously swirls around her on the picturesque Mediterranean island. 

Since Swinton’s character cannot express herself verbally, she communicates masterfully using her custom Dior wardrobe. Bowie-esque flashbacks feature her in wildly theatrical jumpsuits; on the island, her simple dresses suggest a rehabilitated persona whose oversized mirrored sunglasses offer subtle clues about her previous life as a rock star. Like the director’s influential earlier release, “I Am Love,” the film is a spectacular visual feast, the ultimate summer escapist fantasy. “A Bigger Splash” may only be two hours long, but that time spent watching it in the cool, dark theater is a perfect stand-in for a brief tropical getaway. 

Stacie Ellis