Last year we saw Meryl Streep try her hand at being a rocker in dramedy ‘Ricki and the Flash’ this time round it’s Tilda Swinton’s turn. With help from Voldemort and that girl from ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ ‘A Bigger Splash’ promised to be an erotic-thriller but could the movie score a perfect 10 or would it end up being more of a cannonball?
‘A Bigger Splash’ focuses it’s attention on four main characters; Marianne, Paul, Harry and Penelope. These characters are played by Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ralph Fiennes & Dakota Johnson. This focus allows each of these characters to be explored in detail, maybe less so for Penelope played by Johnson though. The characters are well written and are all so different making their on screen chemistry all the more interesting to watch. The performances in the film are all very good. We’ve come to expect that from the likes of Swinton and Fiennes but the younger actors impress too. Schoenaerts has done well over the last few years in films such as ‘The Drop’ & ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ amongst others and here is is similarly as effective in his role. Johnson doesn’t have the best track record coming into this film, whilst I didn’t think that she was awful in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ most of the remaining movie community did. She redeemed herself slightly in ‘Black Mass’ but I think her role here as Penelope has showcased her talents better than any previous film. Swinton hardly speaks in this film due to her rock star character recovering from surgery but this only opens up new avenues of expression for her to act through, always being top quality. Fiennes is fantastic in everything he’s in and ‘A Bigger Splash’ is no different. He’s many things in this film but one scene that you’re bound to remember amongst them all features his eccentric character throwing some shapes rivaling Oscar Isaac’s dance scene in ‘Ex Machina’.
So the characters and performances are good which is a solid starting point, what about the story though? Well the dialogue featured is always interesting and this actually sustains a somewhat uneventful film. As well as this there is all sorts of tension present throughout the film which also helps sustain the plot. So on paper the story shouldn’t sound that interesting, as it’s basically one couples holiday being crashed by an old friend and his daughter. However, due to everything I’ve already mentioned it works so well. The score helps to create moments of excitement and drama too, it’s quite varied but it always has the desired effect. My only criticism with the film would be that in it’s final section it feels a little overlong. The narrative seems to reach a natural stopping point but the film decides its not finished and that the audience needs more. The ‘more’ that we get added on isn’t at all bad, it’s much like the rest of the film, quite enjoyable, however it’s just the unexpected nature of the continuation that took me out of what had been a quite immersive experience.
So with a strong and small core cast, ‘ A Bigger Splash’ manages to showcase it’s often larger than life characters in a very entertaining way. The lack of other characters helps the viewers to be drawn into the drama. With tension and a good script there is plenty to stimulate the audience, as a result the film builds well to its finale but then decides to go on a bit. Nonetheless, ‘A Bigger Splash’ is very entertaining, it’s a simple story with a more complex character study taking the forefront which works really well thanks to the cast and the writing.
Rating – 8/10
Question: Do you prefer films that focus on a smaller or larger group of characters?
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