A Bigger Splash - Trying to escape the world's troubles - Arthouse Rating: 2.25 stars

I am obscene? We all are obscene - Harry Hawkes
Walking into the cinema...
Going to an arthouse film is like eating your vegetables. It is good for you to stretch your tastes, visual consumption and appreciate that cinema is truly an art form that fits all palettes. It may not be to your taste, but it may be good for you.  

Arthouse rating: 2.25 stars*
Cinematic rating: 2 stars
Reel Dialogue rating: 3.5 stars
*Family rating: This film is for mature audiences only. It has mature themes and language that should be taken into consideration before viewing. 

      Marianne Lane's (Tilda Swinton) music has defined a generation. Her career has afforded her the opportunity to life the rockstar lifestyle. It had it's benefits, but it has taken a toll on her relationships and her body. She is currently recovering from throat surgery with her documentary filmmaker partner, Paul De Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts), on the secluded Italian island of Pantelleria. They are looking for anonymity and solitude for the sake of her recovery and their relationship. Then their quiet holiday is disrupted by a blast from their past. Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes), a record producer and the friend who introduced the couple, shows up unannounced with his reclusive daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson). Their invasion into the lives of Marianne and Paul's lives brings a wave of historical emotions that begin with irritation and than progresses to a painful crisis that will tear at the very fabric of their lives. 
       Italian director Luca Gudagnino (I Am Love) weaves a twisted tale through the narrative tapestry of the lives of this unique group who's lives seem to be wasting away. The alluring backdrop of Pantelleria contributes to the arid conditions of their privileged lives. The island scenery becomes a character within this story of people who have all the world has to offer, but are as lost as anyone else. The visual conditions perfectly establish a pressure cooker of despair and passion. Like most Italian films, these emotions complement the script with the physical surroundings. Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes and Matthias Schoenaerts are perfectly cast in their intersecting roles. Most of their thespian prowess is shown in their ability to communicate with the right look at the appropriate moment. They convey the feelings of those who have experienced many hardships in their lives despite their privilege. Fiennes is the catalyst for destructive energy throughout the all of their lives and Swinton manages to portray the wounded damsel with intense agony. The only weak link in this quadrangle of relations is Dakota Johnson, who merely comes across as disillusioned and she does not translate as the centre of physical desire.
        Even with the amazing scenery and the superior cast, this dreary tale fails to make its way out of the miry depths of the mud bathes at the beginning of the film. In their feeble attempt to fight against their past they get pulled further back in and it inevitably destroys  them. Gudagnino attempts to distract from the dreary under current of the storyline with Harry Hawke's over the top antics, but fail to provide the needed humour to balance the despair. All that is conveyed is that each of the characters is headed toward an ill-fated end which provides no hope for them or the film. 

REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film? 

“Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. ”What do people gain from all their labour at which they toil under the sun?"

A Bigger Splash not only depicts this passage from the teachings of King Solomon, this film screams out from the deeper recesses of this short passage. The rock star life style is the aspiration of many on this earth, but for the few that achieve this goal they find that exasperation spoken by the prophet of old. Showing that there is nothing new under the sun. Like the passage, this film rips open the consideration of where can purpose and solace be found. If not in the pleasures of this world, what or who can provide this for us? 

1. Is there anything to look forward in life? (Psalm 71:18, 2 Corinthians 4:16)
2. Is life mysterious? (Colossians 2:1-3, Matthew 13:11-13)
3. Is life meaningless? (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Leaving the cinema...
There are other films that answer the bigger questions of life than this film. The answers provided here are beyond depressing and lack any satisfaction. If you love a good arthouse film, A Bigger Splash is intriguing but there are better to consider. 

Trailer for the film

Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews #thebiggerspalsh