Luca Guadagnino’s film is a tantalizing slice of sunny Euro decadence, a comedy of manners that occasionally slides into a broadly painted critique of privilege (and likely a jab from the Italian director at cavalier Britons treating his country as an exotic playground). It’s not just the fabulous villa these privileged people have, but the economic and psychic space to screw up and blithely carry on. It’s fun to watch, but the film never delivers much more than a top-notch melodrama, with its “serious issues” (addiction, depression, the sad plight of refugees in the Mediterranean) scattered into scenes of pool-lounging and boozy dancing.
While both are easy on the eye, Schoenaerts is a bit of a droop and Johnson struggles to make Penelope anything more than a catalytic nymphette. But our two A-listers are captivating: Fiennes is hilarious as the boorish, manic Harry, and Swinton manages a couple of impossible tasks — remaining silent for most of film and wearing absurd resort wear with élan.