Here are the movie reviews I wrote for the December issue of EL Magazine, which was ditributed in Tokyo last week.
A Bigger Splash
The emotional frenzy wrought by Italian director Luca Guadagnino in his first English-language film helps to distract from its weak underlying plot premises. Tilda Swinton is Marianne, a rock star resting up her shot vocal cords on a sun-drenched Mediterranean island with her younger lover Paul (Matthias Schoenarts), who’s also recovering from something self-inflicted. Their idyll is shattered by the arrival of Marianne’s ex, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), an old school debaucher who brings along his jaded daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson), and, in a bid to win back Marianne, proceeds to ruin everyone’s life. Though the film’s notable quirk—Marianne is mute by necessity—is also its default source of humor, it allows Fiennes to run away with the film, mugging shamelessly in an attempt to prove that Harry is still a force of nature. The fact that he’s a monumental jerk in the bargain is telescoped too soon, so when the shock ending implicates him it doesn’t feel as heavy as it should. The externals, including references to actual pop music and a real world subtext of refugees passing through, add nothing, so Fiennes gets the movie all to himself. (photo: Frenesy Film Company) Continue reading