A Bigger Splash (2016) Blu-ray Review

3 Min Read

Ralph Fiennes’ performance is immaculate.  Unlike many of the serious characters he has played in the past, he brings a completely different persona to Hawkes.

A Bigger Splash is set in Rome on a Sicilian Island and stars Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange), as Marianne Lane, a rock singer, and her boyfriend, Paul De Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts; The Danish Girl).  While recovering from throat surgery, Lane's old flame and producer, Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes; Harry Potter Series), and his grown daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson; Fifty Shades of Grey), unexpectedly visit the couple.

It is so unexpected to watch a main character not talk for most of the movie, but, in this plot, it is very refreshing.  Because of the lack of Lane's dialogue, much more attention is paid to Swinton's mannerisms and how she reacts to the others talking and interacting in the movie.  Her acting is clearly superb, using everything she has except her voice.  In fact, there are several scenes that are quite unusually acted with the silence.  The movie progresses, and Lane slowly moves from silence to low whispers, almost as if the whispers mean more than the silence.

Fiennes' performance is immaculate.  Unlike many of the serious characters he has played in the past (Schindler's List comes to mind), he brings a completely different persona to Hawkes.  He is funny and off key and seems oblivious to whatever anyone else wants, if it's different from his needs.   His portrayal of Hawkes, the older and more playful of the characters, is a huge contrast to the more serious rock star, Lane and her boyfriend, Paul.  The moments where Hawkes is serious, his actions are almost questionable.

Rounding off the main characters is Schoenaerts and Johnson.   Schoenaerts gives a great impression of the younger boyfriend and is clearly attentive and protective of Marianne Lane.   In contrast to Hawkes, Schoenaerts' character, Paul, is the more serious of the two men and almost seems like the father in the movie.  Paul seems in charge of Lanes' recuperation and seems to be able to manage Johnson's character, Penelope, when she acts like a petulant child and tries to force his hand.

Every so often, the movie flashes back to earlier times when Lane is recording and a few times she is on stage.  These flashbacks don't always make sense but almost provide a foreboding to the storyline.  The question is, where is this storyline going and what will happen at the end?

Fox's digital presentation is flawless.  The Blu-ray is presented in Widescreen 1.85:1. The picture is clear and the details are obvious and yet, not overpowering.  The opening scene is so clear that you will think you are at the rock concert behind the stage.   The colors are brilliant.  The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and accentuates the music while the listener can close their eyes and still hear the dialogue clearly, including the actor's verbal emotion. 

The bonus features on the Blu-ray includes a featurette where the actors give a 34-35 second insight as to the background of their character.  This should be a must watch first feature because the insight really helps to understand where the characters come from and what their thought processes are and how they impact their actions.  Luca Guadagnino, the director, is also featured in the bonus content.  He provides insight into how he saw the film progressing and was a wonderful feature to watch at the conclusion of the film.  The gallery of photos shows many stills from the film and is a nice way to end the viewing.

List of Special Features:

  • Commentary with Director Luca Guadagnino, Editor Walter Fasano & Screenwriter David Kajganich
  • Deleted scenes with commentary from Editor Walter Fasano & Screenwriter David Kajganich
  • Genesis featurette
  • Quartet featurette

The Bigger Splash is a wonderful film.  This is a don't miss!

Grade: A

Directed By:
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 124 minutes
Distributed By: Fox Searchlight Pictures

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For more information about A Bigger Splash visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. This release has been provided to FlickDirect for review purposes. For more reviews by Jennifer Broderick please click here.

A Bigger Splash images are courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, Jennifer   Broderick

A graduate of The George Washington University and Nova Southeastern Law School Jennifer Fischer Broderick’s fascination with the movie world started when she first saw Snow White on the big screen as a young child. When the producers of the movie Annie held auditions in NYC, Jennifer stood on line in the cold to try out for a part and actually made it past the first few try-outs. A vivacious reader, she is fascinated watching books and stories brought to life on the big screen. Jennifer has passed her love of movies onto her children and they are often found planning their weekends around opening premieres.


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