A Bigger Splash

Italian director Luca Guadagnino’s follow up to his 2010 melodrama masterpiece ‘I Am Love’, is a sun-drenched erotic thriller and remake of Jacques Derays’ psychological 1969 ‘La Piscine’ (The Swimming Pool).

A Bigger Splash is a gourmet of sexual tension and nihilistic jealously, that all revolves around people sensually diving into and dying in sun-kissed pools. It shares the enigmatic title and lyricism of David Hockney’s pop-art painting, which is used almost as a minimalist template to which Guadagnito paints his own layers on top.

Tilda Swinton plays a Bowie-esque worldrockstar named Marianne, who has gone to ground after losing her voice from an operation on her vocal chords, leaving her speechless. Despite hardly having any lines or saying anything, Swinton uses this to her advantage, delivering entire monologues through glares and expressions, which the leaves the audience understanding Marianne emotions on deeper level than if she were to speak.

Along with her recovering alcoholic filmmaker boyfriend Paul, played by Matthias Schoenaerts, they go on a vacation on the remote island of Pantelleria, where they intend to spend the next couple of weeks escaping reality and living in their own personal paradise.

Their vacation however is interrupted by an old lover and former record producer Harry, played by the magnificent Ralph Fiennes. Harry is the sort of impulsive, obnoxious, exhausted hell-raiser; manic-depressive (without the depression part) who acts firsts and thinks later, who gets caught up in the momentum of life and causes the ‘bigger splash’.

Harry and his Lolita-like daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson), who throughout the film we are obliged to question if they are really related, with sexual glares and the possibility of adding incest to this already emotionally unsettling film, arrive in Pantelleria, to cause and hatch their planned chaos.

The film revolves around these four brilliantly casted characters tearing and testing each other to the point of insanity. It is the filmmakers intention to stir things up, test the waters and have a playful yet damaging experiment on human psychology, an intelligent play on Big Brother, however instead of being stuck in a room with CCTV, the setting is a glamorous villa and we are observing beyond the fourth wall through an Italian cinematic filter.

Guadagnino use of nudity is generous and very similar to that of Gaspar Noe’s recent endeavour ‘Love’, with both female and male gazes covered, he plays into the new aesthetic trend of sleek nudity and natural beauty.

The film progresses with Harry closing in on Marianne, by playing on their shared nostalgia of recording sessions and passionate/violent fights. Simultaneously while this is going on, Paul spends most of his time caught in the forbidden gaze of young Penelope.

With this swinger foursome swap, Guadagnino pushes all the characters to their full potential, unconcerned by their fate; you become more enwrapped in the voyeuristic pursuit to see how far and for how long this can continue.

Without giving too much away the final scene pulls out a surprising contextual trick, where we are told that including the death in the swimming pool, seven Tunisian immigrants drowned on the same day. Unconvinced that this was a conscious decision by the filmmaker, I can’t help but dig deeper into the films purpose, spending the entirety of the film focused on Gatsby-inspired problems of white privileged holidaymakers, we forget about the bigger problems surrounding the Sicilian coastline.

Maybe making a bigger statement about the audience than that of the dalliance characters.

 

Rhys Baker

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s Cinderella review
Arts, Film & Theatre
10 views
Arts, Film & Theatre
10 views

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s Cinderella review

Georgia Grace - February 23, 2018

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia came to the Theatre Royal Brighton this week with a trio of classic ballet performances to impress a range of audiences.…

Billionaire builds colossal 10,000 year clock
Science, Science & Technology
22 views
Science, Science & Technology
22 views

Billionaire builds colossal 10,000 year clock

Luke Richards - February 23, 2018

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has gone ahead with a plan to build a giant clock to promote long term thinking. The clock's design should allow it to…

Neuroscience: it must be love on the brain
Science, Science & Technology
24 views
Science, Science & Technology
24 views

Neuroscience: it must be love on the brain

Luke Richards - February 23, 2018

If you're madly in love, I'd like to ask you to take a moment to consider what exactly is happening inside your brain. Love is a many-chemical…

Rockets and technopoltics: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy
Science, Science & Technology
40 views
Science, Science & Technology
40 views

Rockets and technopoltics: SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy

Luke Richards - February 23, 2018

The launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy could become a defining feature in humanity's exploration of space, but this impressive technical feat opens up a new frontier of…

Should the monarchy be abolished?
News
17 views
News
17 views

Should the monarchy be abolished?

Will Cronk - February 23, 2018

YES William Cronk Since the time of Alfred the Great, this country has had a monarch of some form or another. The monarchy has provided stability and…

News, Podcast
19 views

News Round Up: UCU strike updates, tuition fees and more

William Singh - February 23, 2018

In this news round up of the week, Will and Deniz catch you up on everything going on around campus. Thanks for listening and tune in next…

Academic Armchair- iObjectify: self- and other-objectification on Grindr
Features, Top Stories
18 views
Features, Top Stories
18 views

Academic Armchair- iObjectify: self- and other-objectification on Grindr

Devin Thomas - February 23, 2018

The Badger Features Team interviewed Sussex’s Yasin Koc about his work on the psychological factors behind Grindr. He posits that use of the app is associated with…

The Badger Reviews: Derry Girls
Arts, Film & Theatre
23 views
Arts, Film & Theatre
23 views

The Badger Reviews: Derry Girls

Sophie Coppenhall - February 22, 2018

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MwnpSEzprQ[/embedyt] This week, Sophie our film editor, reviews season one of Derry Girls. Have you seen it? What did you think? Leave us a comment on…

Arts, Film & Theatre
34 views

Krater’s Valentine’s Day Special review

Daniel Green - February 21, 2018

Love was in the air at a Valentine’s special of Krater Comedy Club last Wednesday and, despite the pouring rain outside, Komedia was packed full of people…

‘Paws for Pensions’ among strike event schedule
Campus News, News
35 views
Campus News, News
35 views

‘Paws for Pensions’ among strike event schedule

William Singh - February 21, 2018

University of Sussex staff are hosting a full slate of events on strike days, including talks, teach-ins, and even a day to bring along your puppers. Members…

Exploring Mumbai Street Food
Lifestyle
33 views
Lifestyle
33 views

Exploring Mumbai Street Food

Louisa Streeting - February 21, 2018

Mumbai is a place that assaults the senses; an array of smells you’ve never smelt before, vibrant colours, and constant noises from the surge of tourists and…

Comment, Opinion
37 views

Comment Cast: Misogyny In Hollywood

Will Cronk - February 21, 2018

In the is episode, Will and Sophie discuss misogyny in film and tv. For more, pick up a badger around campus or read it online. Tune in…

Students need to support the UCU strike
Comment, Opinion
47 views
Comment, Opinion
47 views

Students need to support the UCU strike

Johnbosco Nwogbo - February 20, 2018

The question of whether or not the current UCU strike is justified is an easily settled one, if one took a broad view. According to the Joseph…

Women’s suffrage 100 years on: what’s changed?
Features, Top Stories
38 views
Features, Top Stories
38 views

Women’s suffrage 100 years on: what’s changed?

Roisin McCormack - February 20, 2018

As it reaches a century since the defining moments of women’s suffrage, Roisin McCormack looks into how much things have really changed. Is a celebration of the…

Retrospective: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Punch Drunk Love’ (2002)
Arts, Film & Theatre
29 views
Arts, Film & Theatre
29 views

Retrospective: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Punch Drunk Love’ (2002)

Gabriel Ross - February 20, 2018

During a 2002 interview with Charlie Rose, when asked whether he is going to take some time off, Adam Sandler promptly replies, “I don’t really wanna have…

News
52 views

Live: Students’ Union decides on UCU strike backing

William Singh - February 19, 2018

U.S.S.U-Turn: 54 students decide stance for 17,000
Campus News, News
67 views
Campus News, News
67 views

U.S.S.U-Turn: 54 students decide stance for 17,000

Jordan Wright - February 19, 2018

On Monday 19th February, the Students’ Union Council will vote on whether or not to support the national Univerity  and College Union (UCU) strike action that is…

The Wombats: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ review
Arts, Music
35 views
Arts, Music
35 views

The Wombats: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ review

Matthew Nicholls - February 19, 2018

Three years after their last release, The Wombats are back with their long awaited fourth album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’. Since 'Glitterbug' reached number 5…

Artist Focus: Ella Barkhouse
Artist Focus, Arts
47 views
Artist Focus, Arts
47 views

Artist Focus: Ella Barkhouse

Louisa Hunt - February 19, 2018

Ella Barkhouse is a second-year Brighton student, studying Fine Art: Critical Practice course. Her work ranges across all sorts of media, from some more traditional writing, drawing…

The ultimate LGBTQ+ books guide this February
Books
76 views
Books
76 views

The ultimate LGBTQ+ books guide this February

Shiri Reuben - February 19, 2018

  Throughout the month of February, LGBT History Month aims to promote tolerance and spread awareness of the historical and present-day prejudices faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual…