Luca Guadagnino assembles a very intimidating quartet for this chamber piece of sexual tension. It’s a very stylish and engaged remake of Jacques Deray’s 1969 psychological thriller La Piscine (The Swimming Pool). The new title brings in the swoony blueness of David Hockney’s painting and alludes also to the unsubtle male competition at work in these poolside encounters.
Wealthy and worldly, his characters are broadly the same as in the 1969 film, which is transplanted from the South of France setting to the Italian island of Pantelleria off the Sicilian coast. The action takes place in a gorgeous villa with a swimming pool, way up in the hills and far from the harbour where increasing numbers of migrants are being held. Tilda Swinton plays Marianne, a globally famous rock star currently in retreat from the madness of her world, happily vacationing with her partner, Paul (Matthias Schoenaerts), a would-be documentary film-maker. They are both wounded in some way, but happy in each other’s company.
Then a catastrophe happens. Marianne’s ex-lover shows up on the island: a record producer called Harry. Ralph Fiennes squeezes every last drop from this juicy role…
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