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A Bigger Splash (2016)

Released:  Friday, May 13, 2016  
Length:  124 minutes
Studio: Searchlight Pictures
Genre: Drama
Rating: A Bigger Splash is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaUnder 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

A Bigger Splash Synopsis

From the director of the Academy Award nominated I AM LOVE comes a unique, provocative and tension-filled psychological drama. Exploring ripening and spoiling desires under a Mediterranean sun, we are invited into a fragile and dangerous world of relationships, jealousy and passion. Starring Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey), Matthias Schoenaerts (Far from the Madding Crowd) and Tilda Swinton (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Snowpiercer).

Rock legend Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) is recuperating on the volcanic island of Pantelleria with her partner Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) when iconoclast record producer and old flame Harry (Ralph Fiennes) arrives with his daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson) and interrupts their holiday, bringing with him an A-bomb blast of nostalgia from which there can be no rescue. A Bigger Splash is a sensuous portrait of desire, jealousy and rock and roll, under the Mediterranean sun.

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

A Bigger Splash Blu-ray Review

A Bigger Splash Blu-ray Review
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


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