An ageing rock star (Tilda Swinton) is enjoying a relaxing holiday in Italy with her new lover (Matthias Schoenaerts) after having lost her voice mid tour. However their retreat is interrupted by an old flame (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter (Dakota Johnson).
A Bigger Splash is a proper character driven thriller. It places four very well written detailed characters in a secluded space and allows the sparks to just fly. And boy do they fly. Each character seems to occupy a different level of performance and all slot in together extremely well. Ralph Fiennes brings the high energy physicality, Tilda Swinton brings this captivating almost ethereal performance, Matthias Schoenaerts brings the wounded bear performance he has become so adept at and Dakota delivers a role that will have you genuinely believe she is playing a sixteen year old with experience beyond her years.
The film itself doesn’t really have much of a plot as such. There are maybe two actual events in the film that kick off what I guess you could call acts. But it more follows a sort of meandering character study rather than an actual story. While I am all for this approach to film-making, at times it can leave the film feeling a little uneventful especially in the first half. And I found myself far more fascinated with Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes’ characters, not because of any lack in performance from Schoenaerts or Johnson but just because the characters they were portraying aren’t ones that especially interest me. Because of this I found that my interest just fell short of the two hour run time. I think that had it have been maybe twenty minutes shorter I would have been gripped for the entirety.
Overall though this is a four pronged performance piece. And for me Ralph Fiennes pretty much stole the film. This is a role that I’ve never seen him play whereas I found the other three actors maybe played to their strengths, not that that is especially a criticism. Though for me certain parts of the movie felt overlong I would seriously recommend watching it and after the second “event” which is genuinely shocking the film becomes absolutely gripping.