A Bigger Splash (2015)

We’re all obscene. Everyone’s obscene. That’s the whole fucking point. We see it and we love each other anyway.

Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenarts and Dakota Johnson ALL in one film? C’mon, surely that’s enough reason for one to watch this film! I absolutely enjoyed watching A Bigger Splash, though I’m very certain not everyone would be a fan of this kind of film. Simply because it’s weird, it’s imperfect and there isn’t an obvious point nor direction throughout the two hours. The tone changes sharply every now and then – and if you’re used to films with consistency in it, then you might not enjoy watching this one. Well to me, if it wasn’t for the stellar performances by the four main leads (most credit given to Fiennes), this film might have had nothing much left to hold on to.

The cinematography was so beautiful, soundtrack was amazing (immediately saved them on Spotify), and Tilda Swinton looked stunning in everything she wore. The way the camera zoomed in and panned from above gave the film a feeling of nostalgia, something we normally see in older films. There were certain scenes where food was captured in close-up shots but in a grotesque sort of way – kinda reminded me of We Need To Talk About Kevin. Very good kind of disturbing.

THEN THERE WAS THIS DANCE SCENE.

dance scene emotional rescue

THIS. This dance scene will be forever cemented in my mind, alongside with that other dance scene in Napoleon Dynamite and Scarlett Johansson singing to Brass in Pocket in Lost in Translation. Ralph Fiennes is electrifying, he is a genius, and he is a legend for this. I feel like we should always give credit to films that made a mark in our memories – even though you didn’t love the entire film as much as you had hoped, or that you might forget the whole plot in time to come – if you could clearly remember just one scene from the film, and you like it so much that you revisit it from time to time on youtube, then I believe the team behind that film should give themselves a pat on their backs for a job well done!

scene from bigger splash

A Bigger Splash revolves around these four very complex characters and I recommend against merely watching this film at face value. I would actually shelve this one under ‘Art Cinema’ because there surely is room for us to go in depth to study these characters and their true intentions. Apart from the visually stunning mise-en-scene, the electrifying chemistry between all the four characters builds this tension right from the start and although it turns into something odd and strange towards the end, this feeling of imperfection actually made my experience with A Bigger Splash a lot more memorable.

I would draw a parallel between the tone and execution of this film with that of a song that was mentioned in the film – which was “Moon Is Up” by The Rolling Stones. A trash can was used instead of drums for this song, it isn’t a perfect instrument, but its imperfection gave the song a very raw and honest feeling to it. And hence, I felt that A Bigger Splash was a lot like this. Raw, experimental, filled with passion and emotion, charging ahead against the rules… and I really enjoyed every second of it.

Would I recommend it to you? It depends on what your usual appetite for films normally is, because this film has a very specific target audience – it’s no crowd pleaser. If you’re alright with films making sharp tonal shifts, and if you’re okay with films that deal head-on with themes of lust and sexuality, and if you’re occasionally fascinated with the weird and the strange, then you might actually find A Bigger Splash a delight to watch.

P.S. Conservatives should refrain from watching this with friends, and I would strongly advice against making this a family night movie (lots of honest nudity in this film, not that suitable for kids).