A Bigger Splash (2016) - review

Door Janreviews gepubliceerd op Friday 08 April 22:48

Musician Marianne and her partner Paul’s laid-back life on an Italian island is brutally disturbed when Marianne’s boisterous former boyfriend shows up with his 22-year-old daughter.

The performances in “A Bigger Splash” are wonderful: Tilda Swinton, who hardly speaks because her character is resting her voice after surgery, portrays Marianne’s frustration, passion and nostalgia very well; Ralph Fiennes is truly obnoxious as Harry; Matthias Schoenaerts plays the role that he has played on multiple occasions, the silent giant with the faithful heart; Dakota Johnson is very convincing as the unbothered Penelope. I also felt that the actors hadn’t rehearsed this film step by step, so it felt very real. The problem with this film is everything else.

I understand that Harry’s character is supposed to be a nuisance, but he was so unnerving that I was contemplating to leave the cinema. He really is the kind of person whom you don’t want to get in a lift with although you’re already late but you want to avoid being stuck with them at all costs. It was awkward to see Amon Göth or Lord Voldemort or the English Patient being so voluble, let alone being naked! His lecherous glances at every woman (I mean e-v-e-r-y woman, think about it) in this film bored me after a while. There were a couple of scenes whose awkwardness cannot be put into words.

Running through the film in my head after an hour or so, I still cannot define the genre. I thought it would be a dark comedy when I saw the trailer, but there were only a handful of jokes. Then again, it doesn't really feel like a drama.  A good thirty minutes before the end (this film is a ruddy two hours long), the tone of the film swiftly changes and becomes a kind of thriller for a few minutes, which was highly unexpected and highly unnecessary.

Two last things that bothered me were the cinematography and the score. Some shots were way longer than were called for, others were strangely short and in one scene the camera jerked from one side of the location to the other without any reason. There are three instances where the character looks straight into the camera and only the first one makes sense, because it really shoves Harry into your face and gives you an idea of how dominant he is. The score is all over the place. It would’ve been more interesting if they’d kept the rock music that Marianne used to play, but they used some classical music and some elevator music if the characters weren’t hearing the music themselves.

If you have taken care of that one thing that you’ve been postponing for the last few months, and you have no other film at your disposal, and you have done every single assignment you can work on, and you have thoroughly cleaned every room in your home and you have two hours to waste, I recommend this film to you.     

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