DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

A Bigger Splash: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

A Bigger Splash (2016) movie poster A Bigger Splash

Theatrical Release: May 4, 2016 / Running Time: 125 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Luca Guadagnino / Writers: David Kajganich (screenplay), Alain Page (original screenplay and novel La Piscine); Jacques Deray, Jean-Claude Carri่re (adaptation and dialogues)

Cast: Ralph Fiennes (Harry Hawkes), Dakota Johnson (Penelope Lannier), Matthias Schoenaerts (Paul De Smedt), Tilda Swinton (Marianne Lane), Aurore Cl้ment (Mireille), Elena Bucci (Clara), Lily McMenamy (Sylvie), Corrado Guzzanti (Maresciallo dei Carabinieri)

Buy A Bigger Splash from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD • DVD + Digital HD • Instant Video

A Bigger Splash is not much like other films. That is one explanation for its almost universally favorable reviews from critics and far more mixed and muted reaction from the general moviegoing public.
A remake of Jacques Deray's 1969 French-Italian film La Piscine, this film sends four connected people to a scenic Italian island: rock star Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton), who is keeping silent to preserve her voice; her younger lover Paul De Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts); Marianne's ex-husband and former producer Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes), and Harry's recently discovered collegiate daughter Penelope Lannier (Dakota Johnson).

The relationships formed between these four individuals are complicated. Harry seems to have sexual feelings for all three, even his illegitimate daughter. Marianne and Paul's romance is sturdy, but maybe not sturdy enough to withstand what transcends over the next few days. There is a festival, some drunken singing, a hike, a car accident. And then in its final half-hour, A Bigger Splash takes a dark and unexpected turn as one of the four ends up dead and the other three are questioned about it.

Directed by Italy's Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) with a screenplay by David Kajganich (True Story), A Bigger Splash is atmospheric and unpredictable. Characters bare themselves emotionally and physically, weaving quite a messy tangle around them that neither the film nor you can easily unravel.

Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes) enjoys grooving to The Rolling Stones' "Emotional Rescue" for his friends in "A Bigger Splash."

It's always nice to encounter a film that isn't tidy and conventional. This certainly is neither. All four leads get to sink their teeth into rich, multi-layered characters. Fiennes is effervescent, Swinton is frightening in her hushed speech and loud body language,
Schoenaerts makes us appreciate his ability to disappear into roles, and even Johnson, who has made her name on what many consider trash proves she has some true dramatic chops. You won't come away loving any of these four characters, who behave questionably and toy with one another's feelings. But Guadagnino and Kajganich also refuse to let you outright hate any of them, giving each enough depth to be unable to dismiss and detest.

Opening in five theaters and gradually expanding to 378, A Bigger Splash grossed $2 million and change domestically plus an additional $5.5 M from foreign markets, including an expectedly strong showing in the UK, from which the more accomplished half of the leads hail. Last week, it came to home video from Fox in a DVD and the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack reviewed here.

A Bigger Splash: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

1.85:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Descriptive Video Service, Spanish, French)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Descriptive Video Service), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Spanish, French)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish, French
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Blue Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD + Digital HD ($29.98 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video


The Blu-ray's 1.85:1 transfer shows off the gorgeous, sunny Italian scenery with nary the slightest concern. The sharp, vibrant element is complemented by a suitably lively and crisp 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack.

Tilda Swinton doesn't have to protect her voice in discussing her character in "The Silent One." Tilda Swinton looks like she's directing instead of her two-time collaborator Luca Guadagnino in this behind-the-scenes shot.


The bulk of A Bigger Splash's Blu-ray extras fall under the heading Promotional Featurettes, which is a little bit of an overstatement.

The first four shorts look at the lead characters:
"The Silent One" (0:35) on Tilda Swinton's rock star, "The Extroverted One" (0:34) on Ralph Fiennes' exuberant promoter, "The Young One" (0:35) on Dakota Johnson's duplicitous manipulator, and "The Mysterious One" (0:34) on Matthias Schoenaerts' wild card.

The section is rounded out by four slightly longer (but still short) topical pieces. "Story & Cast" (2:10) runs through synopsis with clips and behind-the-scenes footage. "Beneath the Surface" (2:16) considers the cast's experiences with the director as well as the secrets and feelings that fester throughout the film. "The Inspiration" (1:09) lets director Luca Guadagnino and his cast acknowledge the original film this is based on. "Another World" (1:51) discusses shooting the film on the Italian island of Pantelleria.

A slate is clapped right in front of Dakota Johnson's sunglassed face in a behind-the-scenes still from A Bigger Splash's photo gallery. Harry and Penelope's uncomfortable father-daughter duet makes an appearance on A Bigger Splash's DVD main menu montage.

A photo gallery that can be viewed with auto or manual advance consists of 28 images, most of them plain publicity stills.

Extras conclude with A Bigger Splash's theatrical trailer (1:57).

The disc opens with a promo for Digital HD followed by trailers for Demolition and Youth. The same three items can be played in the Sneak Peek menu, along with trailers for Dom Hemingway, Brooklyn, and Far from the Madding Crowd.

The DVD, a surprising inclusion seeing as the studios are moving away from two-disc combo packs, is the same one sold on its own. It includes all of the same bonus features.

The menu places listings over a screen-filling montage of softly-scored clips. The Blu-ray supports bookmarks and also lets you resume playback of anything.

The two uniquely-labeled discs share a slipcovered keepcase with an insert supplying your Digital HD code.

Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts) and Penelope (Dakota Johnson) encounter some questionable company on a hike in "A Bigger Splash."


A Bigger Splash is unusual and complex storytelling that won't be everyone's cup of tea but cannot be dismissed as just more of the same. Though sparse on extras, Fox's Blu-ray combo pack boasts first-rate picture and sound, both of which are appreciated on this sumptuous Mediterranean production.

Buy A Bigger Splash from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD + Digital HD / Instant Video

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
Tilda Swinton: Only Lovers Left Alive • Snowpiercer | Ralph Fiennes: The Grand Budapest Hotel • Coriolanus • Hail, Caesar! • The Invisible Woman
Dakota Johnson: How to Be Single • Black Mass | Matthias Schoenaerts: A Little Chaos • Rust and Bone • The Drop
New to Disc: Louder Than Bombs • Love & Friendship • Equals • Genius • Captain America: Civil War
This Must Be the Place • The Great Beauty • Nine

DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed September 16, 2016.

Text copyright 2016 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2016 Fox Searchlight Pictures, Studiocanal, Frenesy Film, Cota Films, Regione Siciliana Tourism, Sport and Entertainment Department, Sicilia Film Commission, and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.