Certificate: 15

Running Time: 124 mins

Star Rating: 4/5

SUN, sea, sex and skulduggery are key ingredients of writer-director Luca Guadagnino's spicy cinematic cocktail, which elegantly updates the erotically charged 1969 thriller La Piscine from St Tropez to the rugged Sicilian island of Pantelleria. Simmering sexual tensions of the original have been turned up to a furious boil in A Bigger Splash, which demands full-frontal nudity from almost the entire cast as the battle of the sexes claims at least one casualty.

The striking backdrop of a volcanic Mediterranean island is an apt metaphor for the dormant desires of morally conflicted characters, who threaten to erupt under sustained provocation. The four protagonists all seem capable of inflicting a fatal blow and it's this air of uncertainty and impending doom which electrifies every frame of Guadagnino's stylistically specific vision.

Once again, the filmmaker collaborates with Oscar-winning British actress Tilda Swinton and gifts her a plum role as a David Bowie-esque glam rock doyenne called Marianne Lane, who is recuperating from surgery with her boyfriend, documentary filmmaker Paul De Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts). An old flame, boorish record producer Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes), arrives unexpectedly on the island with an ulterior motive - to drive a wedge between the couple - and he has brought along his alluring teenage daughter, Penelope (Dakota Johnson), to distract Paul.

Sharing its title with a 1967 David Hockney painting, A Bigger Splash is energized by Fiennes' unflinching portrayal of an emotional wrecking ball. A centrepiece sequence of the actor gyrating wildly to The Rolling Stones' hit Emotional Rescue - an ironic musical choice - truly smacks our gobs. Swinton is in imperious form and on-screen chemistry with Schoenaerts is molten like freshly spewed lava. Writer-director Guadagnino repeatedly turns up the heat until we're itching for a cooling dip in the ominously blue waters of Marianne's pool.