A Bigger Splash: can you be lenient with a film where people cry in the rain?

Arte will broadcast tonight this remake of La Piscine by Luca Guadagnino with Dakota Johnson, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts and Tilda Swinton. Have ?

Two years before Call Me By Your Namecritically acclaimed, Luca Guadagnino signed this remake of The swimming pool. The film had been presented to the public at the Mostra de Venis 2015, before being released in cinemas the following spring. While it will be rebroadcast this evening on Arte, we are sharing our hot opinion, not really optimistic…

The swimming pool told by Jean-Claude Carrière

Inspired by The swimming pool by Jacques Deray A Bigger Splash is a complex, ambiguous, unnerving film that is too loaded with references for its own good. The characters have kept the same names: Paul and Marianne (Matthias Schoenaerts and Tilda Swinton) are spending a quiet holiday in their villa on an Italian island when their old friend Harry (Ralph Fiennes) and his daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson, seen a few days) arrive earlier in Black Mass and a few months ago 50 Shades of Gray). The intruder is not welcome, because Marianne, a rock singer recently operated on her larynx, needs calm to find her voice. However, there is nothing restful about Harry: he is a manipulative and thundering hedonist, who was Marianne’s manager and lover for 6 years, before arranging the meeting between her and Paul. And if he’s there, it’s to set the table again with Marianne.

Fiennes plays Harry as the character is written, but with a forced vulgarity that lacks naturalness. Dakota Johnson (Don’s daughter) plays the disruptive Penelope, and we can’t help but think of Juno Temple, another daughter of Don, who played almost the same role as a tease cheating with her age in Killer Joe, by William Friedkin. So that each twist is visible in advance, but it’s a bit the general problem of the film which, consciously or not, announces the program in the form of winks and references. The lifestyle of these luxury jet setters (sex, drugs and rock’n roll) reproduces the cliché popularized by the Rolling Stones, which the director Luca Guadagnino also quotes obsessively, since the recall of the death of Brian Jones in his swimming pool until the lyrics of “Emotional Rescue”. The photo is provided by Yorick Le Saulx, who had already lit Tilda Swinton in Only Lovers Left Alivealready a film about a rock’n roll couple, and swimming pool, here then. The only incursion of reality into this theater of desire in a vacuum, the migrants, who will serve as the ideal culprits in a disastrous (and telephoned) accident.

In the end, it’s hard to sort out the undeniable sophistication and the irritating bad taste of this convoluted and disconcerting story. But can we be lenient with a film that makes it rain when a character cries? It’s one of the most tired shots in the history of cinema, and we’ve already seen it here in Venice just two days earlier in the calamitous The Danish Girl. Matthias Schoenaerts has too much potential to be allowed to squander it on films where people cry in the rain.
Gerard Delorme

“I didn’t want to see La Piscine. I’m ashamed!”

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