Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Bigger Splash

**1/2 out of ****

A Bigger Splash, is an example of European cinema once again calling for more subversion of traditional techniques with odd results, which will divide audiences. I may stand somewhere in the middle with this movie, but I must do this in reaction to how seductive and off-putting it manages to simultaneously be.

The film follows a rock star, (Tilda Swinton) taking a vacation with her boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) on a small Italian island when their quiet time is cut short by an unexpected visit from her bombastic manager/ex-lover (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter (Dakota Johnson).

The Mediterranean location is captured in a way that nearly provokes a sense of being there with these privileged people who you may resent through envy or contempt. The soundtrack selections of director Luca Guadagnino's specific taste give it as unique an atmosphere as his previous film, I Am Love (which also starred Swinton).

The movie seems to fixate on its own sense of beauty, some of which I have trouble agreeing. It also uncomfortably reminds us of the contrast between the super-wealthy entertainment world and impoverished people on the outskirts of their comfortable lives. Politics are often unavoidable when Italians make movies.

This movie's great acting and unforgettable atmosphere stuck with me as much as the lack of comfort it gave me. I can, however, promise that if you regard Tilda Swinton as an erotic goddess (which I don’t), this movie is waiting patiently for you to see it.

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