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Once one of the best-kept secrets of the Mediterranean, Pantelleria, also known as “the black pearl of the Med” is the rough, sun-soaked setting of this Venice Film Festival Award-winning drama from director Luca Guadignino, whose most recent film Call Me By Your Name was nominated for an Oscar. This refreshing, alluring, startling movie will leave you feeling like you’ve gone on a whirlwind summer holiday in two hours, with four fascinating, flawed strangers.
Showmax is the only place in SA you’ll find this indie gem.
Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) is a rock star recovering from surgery on her vocal chords. She can’t speak above a whisper, and she and her boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), who’s also in recovery from something devastating and unspoken, have retreated to a villa high up in the hills of Pantelleria. They’ve settled into a languid, peaceful routine of intimacy – until a plane arrives from Rome, carrying Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes), Marianne’s ex and Paul’s friend, the music producer who introduced them. Harry is “obscene”, a completely unhinged charmer, and he brings with him a daughter he’s never mentioned, a sultry blonde called Penelope (Dakota Johnson), who says she’s 22 but seems at once too naive and too rebellious to be anything but a teenager.
Within a few short days of Harry and Pen’s sudden arrival at Marianne and Paul’s, lust and jealousy start smouldering between the four of them, a slow burn that soon escalates into a full-blown wildfire. Whether any of them will emerge unscathed is anyone’s guess, and you won’t be able to look away as relationships start collapsing in the blaze.
The backdrop for the psychological drama that is unfolds is the movie’s stunning score, which won the Soundtrack Stars Award at the 2015 Venice Film Festival, featuring some of The Rolling Stones’ best work. Once you’ve seen Ralph Fiennes’s crazy, inimitable dance to Emotional Rescue, you’ll never be able to hear it again without calling Harry up in your mind’s eye, jerking, slithering, grinning disconcertingly, his shirt open and a wild glint in his eye. It’s beautiful and uncomfortable to watch – you almost expect him to burst into flames or fling himself off the cliff-face into the surrounding mountains.
If you’re desperate to escape the realities of your everyday life, stream A Bigger Splash on Showmax now. The setting, the soundtrack and the performances make it a wild fever-dream of a movie. Watch now »
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