Tilda Swinton reteams with her I Am Love director, Luca Guadagnino, in a heady, slow-burn psychological thriller. Rock legend Marianne Lane (Swinton) is recuperating on the volcanic island of Pantelleria, in the strait of Sicily, with her filmmaker boyfriend, Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) when iconoclastic music producer – and old flame – Harry (Ralph Fiennes) unexpectedly flies in with his daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson).
Harry’s unscheduled arrival interrupts the languid idyll of Marianne and Paul’s getaway, upending Lane’s convalescence to a degree that clearly grates on her partner. Not content merely to encroach on the pair’s privacy, Harry’s compulsive, Bacchanalian behaviour – Fiennes gives a no holds barred performance – and insistence on revisiting the past test the limits of Paul’s patience even as Paul himself becomes the object of the wily Penelope’s attention.
Based on Jacques Deray’s 1969 film, La Piscine (The Swimming Pool), which famously starred French heartthrob Alain Delon, Guadagnino’s contemporary adaptation similarly exudes an almost wanton voluptuousness. Guadagnino’s Director of Photographer, Yorick Le Saux, (who also shot Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria) captures the play of light on the island’s ancient landscape and the sun-kissed bodies of the four main characters seductively circling each other to ravishing and almost palpable effect.
“Guadagnino’s English language debut is essential viewing. Dive in” The Age
“Fiennes is superb in what may well be his finest screen role to date” David Stratton, The Australian