The Swimming Pool (La Piscine) Reviews
The arrival of the second couple adds considerable sexual tension. Harry and Marianne were lovers and Jean-Paul is jealous. Marianne acts ambiguously, flirting with Hurry. Jean-Paul toys with Penelope, creating a stifling, sexually-charged atmosphere. In the lazy summer days, nothing much happens, apart from the couples enjoying the pool of the title and inviting friends for a party.
However, the tension reaches melting point. Besides having a sadistic streak Jean-Paul turns out as a cold-blooded murderer, drowning Harry for reasons difficult to understand. The murder passes off as an accident, but Marianne is suspicious, She finds out the truth and considers leaving Jean-Paul, but the final frame shows them together. We can assume that sexual attraction is stronger than any moral instinct and that they will continue their frolic - at least until the passion lasts.
Very voyeuristic movie, with a Schneider at the top of her game, seductive yet fragile and very beautiful. Delon, wooden as usual still manages decent interpretation. Barkin is terrible, could not act.
The 2015 remake "A bigger splash" is vastly inferior, from the choice of cast to the plot development. Swinton is a far cry from luminous Schneider, having only a fraction of her allure. Johnson is a bad as Birkin and less believable as a teenager. Only Fiennes makes a more engaging Harry, fleshing out a part than in this movie is more ambiguous.
But the earthly heaven they're currently basking in comes crashing down when Marianne receives a call from Harry (Maurice Ronet), a friend of the couple who dated Marianne long before she met Jean-Paul. The latter is apprehensive when faced with the idea of the man interrupting his leisurely holiday, but it's clear that Marianne holds no grudges in response to the past relationship - gleefully, she invites him to the sun-drenched home, his vampy daughter (Jane Birkin) in tow. Upon arrival, they all, expectedly, get along like old friends, to a point. But as days go by and past frustrations begin to resurface after years of being kept hidden, the situation takes a turn for the deadly.
Directed and co-written by Jacques Deray, "La Piscine" is a languorous dramatic thriller that bears the scent of a film we anticipate to lustily build until it reaches a blistering climax that rips our berets off. But alas, a ferocious closer never reaches us; it's a tense ride never relieved. At two-hours, we want nothing more than to be rewarded with tempestuousness that serves as a malignant reflection of the subdued drama before it. And yet, "La Piscine" stays slow and thoughtful, cinematic aspects that are fascinating until we decide that we'd prefer it if our patience were actually paid off. It's made with great style and great care, and features universally capable performances from its beautiful cast. I'm just not so sure Deray, along with co-screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriťre, realize that mood and fashionability can only go so far before you have to inject a movie with some dramatic weight.
A tour de force of sexual longing and controlled suspense.
Well, in this movie Romy Schneider is the hot ingredient. Heavy and shimmering lies the summer over France. Marianne and Jean-Paul spend most of their time in the swimming pool. It is way too hot, they are way too lazy. An old friend comes by to introduce his 18-years old daughter. Slowly the wheel of lust and jealousy starts to spin and it goes faster and faster, until it explodes into a catastrophe.
okay, let me put it in two words concisely: diabolical egoism...or even more plainly: selfishness.
just judging from his performances in "the sinners", he's surely the only conpetent tom ripley in cinematic history, delon's character in it feels exactly like tom ripley in "the purple noon" which he would be making in years to come. the story is about a man who murders his visiting friend due to jealousy and contempt, and he sleeps with the friend's daughter to revenge him for attempting to seduce his girlfriend. then he methodically schemes to elope with the friend's daughter (after the funeral) after ruthlessly dumping his caring girlfriend. but after the girlfriend discovers the truth of the crime, he skillfully seduces the woman back to cover up the crime for him, acting pitifully sympathetic with his boyish melancholy. sounds so ripley..huh?
the character makes me feel so eeriely selfish, so downright self-centered, and what makes him even more horrible is that he even has a self-justified sympathy-inviting way to lead you into patronizing his vices...he's the one who does all the bad things, but you end up on his side even you know it is wrong!....i'm usually the villain-sympathizer in most of the cases, but for this one, i say...stay away from the devil! perhaps my sympathy is more with people who make great efforts to disguise their frailties in an aggressive, un-apologetic manner so others would be more compelled to condemn them because they want no sympathy! (i admire such consistency, it's called "dignified evil" by me) but alain delon type of villain is like, he pulls off the crime with great composure and he doesn't hesitate to bare his weakness because he would apply all the available resources around to excuse himself from the condemnation and the possible penalty. (cowardly evil)
anyway, "the sinners" is a great psychological drama for those take an interest in new wave french cinema. alain delon and romy schneider are surely very feasible to the eyes. even i must say, schneider is too good for delon, whose character here in this picture is surely a scumbag with the prettiest face which hypnotizes you into immorality. shall we just call him THE HOMME FATALE!