Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts, Dakota Johnson
Dream with me for a second. You and your superstar girlfriend are chilling on a remote Italian island, hiding out while she convalesces from throat surgery. Eating great food, having great sex, lying by the pool naked. You’re nailing life. Then her ex (who’s also your old boss) turns up replete with a barely veiled ulterior motive: to win her back, of course. Oh and he’s bought his smoking hot/antagonistically provocative daughter with him, who promptly starts hitting on you. The dream has become a nightmare. This is hell.
Luca Guadagnino’s loose remake of Jacques Deray’s 1969 Italian-French drama ‘La Piscine’ is a beautiful film, a film of opposites; dreamlike yet dark, amusing yet disquieting, delicate yet jarring. The high-calibre cast deliver to expectation but it is Ralph Fiennes as Harry, bearded, half-dressed and pulsating to Rolling Stones ‘Emotional Rescue’ on a rooftop with wild abandon that proves the indelible takeaway scene. With a glorious soundtrack and astutely nuanced script, Guadagnino’s only misstep is some awkwardly inserted background noise concerning Tunisian refugees, which can at least be taken as an vague attempt to draw attention to a difficult political situation. The film takes its name from a famous Hockney painting, about which Guadagnino commented a “beautiful lightness carried so much depth”. If his aim was to emulate this concord, he undoubtedly succeeded.
Originally published in Crack Magazine