When Yorgos Lanthimos’s previous film ‘The Lobster’ came out two years ago, it seemingly sprung out of nowhere. I knew barely anything about it, but the film ended up being one of my favourites of 2017.
So now here is his latest film and the same thing can be said again. I went into it knowing nothing aside Colin Farrell being in the lead role and came out regarding it as one of my favourite films of this year. It is a unique and unsettling drama/thriller that is utterly fantastic.
The plot follows a Surgeon who is faced with the toughest decision of his life, when his family start mysteriously falling ill. It’s a simple set-up and in fact it’s a rather simple movie, which is elevated by it’s execution. In the hands of another director the film may have been very dramatic and tense, but Yorgos takes a much more laid back and subtle approach with tinges of black humour, a maintained unsettling atmosphere and intriguing characters who usually only show flashes of outward emotion.
The films very unnerving atmosphere is mainly created through a superb soundscape. There’s a heavy use of long drawn out sounds, primarily provided by a string instrument like a violin, which consistently makes the viewer uneasy throughout and there are even points where the sounds goes right through you, like chalk screeching on a blackboard. It’s all incredibly effective and helps draw the viewer in.
The cinematography is wonderful with lots of slow moving and wide shots being utilised, as well as some intriguing framing and angles. It’s very aesthetically pleasing and often adds to the films eerie nature, especially with the camera sometimes slowly creeping in and characters inhabiting big empty spaces, which creates a sense of isolation.
Then of course there are the performances, which are all great. The cast is very small and includes Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan and Alicia Silverstone, all of whom put in a tremendous effort. A lot of dialogue is usually delivered in a deliberate almost deadpan manner with each actor displaying an underlying depth to their character without being overtly expressive.
If I was to complain about anything, its that I just wanted more of it and the film ends at a point that felt slightly underwhelming. For many people the film may indeed feel too minimal, and its deliberate deficiency of emotion and undemanding approach will be off-putting. But there is a lot that can be uncovered from beneath the films seemingly simple surface and whilst not perfect, all in all I found the film to be a perturbing and compelling experience that is simply brilliant.
OVERALL: 8.9/10 – GREAT
Review written by Eric Hart (Blazinhart).