Tilda Swinton is the lead in an Italian film by Luca Guadagnino that tells a story of love that upsets the balance of a family of great wealth. The family business frames the lives of those it is handed to, and when the grandson is given part control, fate is suitably twisted. The conventional and cold logic of capital and the logic of business are subtly pitched against the unremitting nature of human love. It is a pitch of contrasting values, one coldly redolent in finery and inherited privilege and the other naked, sumptuous and a slave to feeling.
Swinton’s character does not belong in either world – but her crossing of one to the other carries with it consequences that undo both. The tragic consequences of extraordinary love pivot on rebellion, the new generation that will not carry on the facade of wealth and all that it carries with it. In that way, the turbulent pendulum swings away from capitalist excess, the futility of wealth and inheritance is questioned and the wisdom of love exposed in all its destructive power.
A film that is both beautiful and sensual and yet expresses itself best in the illustration of coldness, of destruction and of contrast. The cast and direction are well measured and the film lures you into a controlled world that is never comforting to another ruled by the moment and extraordinary risk. That movement between worlds and Swinton’s ability to layer hidden feelings give it a depth of feeling that is otherwise strangely absent in these worlds that suffer under the light of extreme beauty.
Originality * * *
Quality * * * * *