A Bigger Splash Blu-ray Review
Ralph Potts reviews this arthouse film that tells the story of how the Mediterranean vacation of a famous rock star and her filmmaker boyfriend is disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old flame and his daughter.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 2oth Century Fox - 2015
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 124 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts, Dakota Johnson
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Written by: David Kajganich
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 6, 2016
"Sex, Drugs, Rock 'N' Roll under the Mediterranean Sun"
A Bigger Splash tells the story of rock legend Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) who is recuperating from vocal cord surgery on the volcanic island of Pantelleria with her boyfriend Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts). While the couple basks in the foreshadowing heat of the Mediterranean sun, their lives are soon disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old flame (Ralph Fiennes) and his seductive daughter (Dakota Johnson), creating a whirlwind of jealousy, passion and – ultimately – danger for everyone involved.
A Bigger Splash is an adult, arthouse drama, with a narrative that serves as a character study built around four people. It's most definitely a powder keg with a long fuse that requires patience by the audience as it works toward its climax. The characters are complex, well drawn and neatly folded into the eclectic story which unfolds over a weekend which unearths complicated relationships, psychological interplay, and the tangled emotional webs that end in cataclysm. The first hour of this film had my wife and I somewhat frustrated and a little bored. The second act bore fruit as our connection to the characters solidified, allowing us a deeper understanding of not only where it was going but why.
You'll find yourself immediately drawn to the very distinct archetypes among the four principles and will quickly size them up. Later you may find yourself switching camps from those you once loathed or had empathy for. Or, maybe you won't. There is no denying that this film has an indie/arthouse feel that is emboldened by the gorgeous shooting locales and cinematography. The cast is solid, although Dakota Johnson seemed to have less to contribute than Swinton, Schoenaerts, and Fiennes. A Bigger Splash is more an exercise in character devotion than traditional dramatic cinema which may put some viewers off. For those that can see it for its potential and strengths (hang in beyond that first act), it may just offer a rewarding viewing experience. For me it's a once an done film that had an emotional center and unconventional appeal that proved refreshing.
The rating is for graphic nudity, some strong sexual content, language and brief drug use.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
A Bigger Splash comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 36 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.
This is a solid looking high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail with sharp edges and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective during wide angle camera pans. Colors range from warm, vivid and inviting to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Blacks are rich and noticeably deep with a slight boost to contrast that is just enough to give the video a visually dynamic aesthetic without negatively impacting fidelity. Visible detail in low lit scenes/backgrounds is quite good, offering discernible depth of field. I didn’t see any obvious signs of video related artifacts as the video had a pristine and generally pleasing quality.
This is essentially a dialog driven film however there are aspects of the presentation that make effective use of the rear channels to expand the soundstage. Dialogue is crystal clear with discerning vocal description and refined texture. The mix relies heavily upon the front three channels. Separation, imaging and directional spacing are excellent as the mix of dialogue, music and recorded sounds are clearly articulated. The LFE channel is used primarily for subtle impact and for upper bass frequencies associated with the film’s music.
A Bigger Splash is an eclectic, character driven, arthouse drama that may not find an audience with every genre fan, but has something to offer those willing to give it a chance. It comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, clear lossless sound and a bland assortment of promotional supplements. A Bigger Splash is a recommended rental when you're in the mood for something that takes you down the road less traveled.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player
Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
We didn't make it past the first hour, took took long to get us interested. Hint to movie makers : don't make the star of your film mute for the first half of the movie.
Maybe we'll give it another go and try to finish it based on this review. But man, my policy of "if we don't find something -- anything -- to live about a movie in the first thirty minutes, it's going off". There is too much out there to watch! Good problem to have, no doubt :) First world problems and all that.
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