Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Bigger Splash [2015]

MPAA (R)  ChicagoTribune (3 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B-)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
ChicagoTribune (J. Chang) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review  

A Bigger Splash [2015] (directed by Luca Guadagnino, screenplay by David Kajganich story by Alain Page [wikip-fr]*[IMDb] is essentially an updated remake of the classic French / Italian 1960s erotic thriller La Piscine [1969] (directed and screenplay cowritten then by Jacques Deray along with Jean-Claude Carrière, story by Alain Page [wikip-fr]*[IMDb]).

In the current film, Janis Joplin-esque euro-rock star diva Marianne Lane (played by Tilda Swinton) and her perhaps a few years younger photographer-turned-lover of six years Paul de Smedt (played by Matthias Schoenaerts) have successfully ditched the paparazzi to "hole themselves up" _in a drop-dead gorgeous_ "up in the hills" multi-acred / multi-leveled / terraced villa in the Sicilian countryside with, of course, an ocean view worthy of the Gods and a mosaic-tiled pool worthy of an Emperor.  Oh how they suffered so ... They were there in good part so that Marianne could rest her voice, which 15-20-25 years into her career was clearly wearing.

While out there in this Elysian retreat in Paradise, they're visited by (perhaps) a Snake / perhaps two (actually quite a few, the presence of _actual snakes_ seem to be a day-to-day nuisance there ;-) in the form of a record producer named Henry Hawkes (played devilishly annoyingly well by Ralph Fiennes) and his bored but gorgeous young adult (late teen - early 20s) daughter Penelope (played with _quiet_ "yes, I'm hot, but you're all old, so I'll take my time to mess with all of you as I wish and on my own timetable ;-)" perfection by Dakota Johnson).

Henry had been a former lover of Marianne's and past more business acquaintance than friend but also sort-of friend to Paul.  Indeed some 6-7 years previous, Henry had "bequeathed" Marianne to him (usually not a particularly good idea but he had been getting tired of Marianne and Paul, perhaps at least at the time, hadn't seemed that much of a threat to him...).  No one had really known of Penelope (not even Henry until a few years back).  But a few years after her mother had reconnected with Henry (perhaps _just_ to inform him that he had a daughter by her ... and ask for some money) they came to this (rather odd / awkward...) arrangement that during this particular summer, he'd "take her around with him" while he was traveling in Europe.

So there they were Henry and Penelope ... visiting (or perhaps "crashing in on") Henry's old friends Marianne and Paul, both of whom probably would not have wanted to see him.  (Honestly as I write this, I find myself having more sympathy for Henry that I thought I'd ever have...).

And while Henry was perhaps arriving with all kinds of regrets, there was also Penelope, bored, left to ... just look _great_ in a bikini, listening to "stuff" on her ipod, flipping through "stuff" in a bunch of glossy (Italian?) magazines, _perhaps_ journaling "more stuff" in her notebook as she sunned herself by the pool, while her "dad" (again, she met him a few years ago...) met up with people who didn't really want to see him.

So this couldn't possibly go well ... and ... you could probably guess ...

It makes for an interesting "coming-up to summer" movie and reminds me to perhaps start making a list of "summer vacations from hell" films ;-)

But teens, above all, _please_ be nice.  Try to remember that ONE DAY you'll be "like the old folks" too ... ;-)

* Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser.  

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