Directed By: Yorgos Lanthimos
Written By: Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou
Cinematography By: Thimios Bakatakis
Editor: Yorgos Mavropsaridis
Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, Ben Whishaw, Olivia Colman, Jessica Barden, Lea Seydoux, Ariane Labed, Angeliki Papoulia, Emma O’Shea, Ashley Jensen, Michael Smiley
A love story set in a dystopian near future where single people are arrested and transferred to a creepy hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal and released into the woods.
Let me start off and not prolong the mystery. This is one of the better films of the year. Now I know it is only may trust me it seems like a rarity. Now while I have loved SING STREET and GREEN ROOM. Technically I did see this one before those films. So this was the first truly noteworthy film I saw this year.
The film has a shocking beginning that becomes a little more understandable as the film goes along. It has a certain rhythm that the film follows as do the actors that takes the audience awhile to get.
The film plays like an absurd skit. The kind you would find as the final skit before the credits on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. The really bizarre one, Only here you never get tired of the absurdity as it moves along at a leisurely pace.
Obviously not a film for everyone
Let me just say that while i am not the biggest fan of director Yorgos Lanthimos previous films. I always liked then as they were full of ideas and keep your interest. Even of they leave the audience very cold and don’t go about their stories in conventional ways.
They stand out as original, ones that I can respect if not enjoy. I will say that while this film follows the same path or is more Broad and accessible than his previous work. That I think will help him to find a broader audience. –This is the first film of his that one finds to really be able to connect with. Even if at times the film Seems to be more about suffering in it’s detachment.
If you have seen his previous work what is really comforting is that this is a film that he could have made without the star power of a better known cast as a few of his regular actors fill out the supporting roles and maybe with more recognizable actors it helped the film get a bigger budget and more advertising but it stays within the directors wheelhouse and grip but shows a willingness to open up and try something a bit different as far as being more accessable
This film is more a comedy then his previous films albeit a particularly deadpan one. It is definitely of it’s own world and can guarantee you won’t see anything like it. As the film can be remote and chilling emotionally while gaining warmth as the story over along and a connection is made through the characters.
It’s not as profound as one would think, and could easily be labeled as pretentious. Though i feel his previous films were more so. This one feels like it has much more of a follow through, though not as challenging.
It feels like a book adaptation. For how rich, yet refined the film and tone is. Most of the characters don’t have names. They are more refered to job, look or something physical about them
The film works with almost entirely with natural light and without make-up. Lighting was only used for some night scenes.
The film examines all aspects of love and the courting process but puts it under the microscope of satire and slowly turns more into a character piece as the film isn’t totally outrageous in concept. Though if anything more a satire of relationships and all of it’s trappings more metaphorically. Especially with ideas such as children are used as band aids and distractions from you or crumbling relationship.
Showing that the key to introduction is not only giving your best version of yourself as representation, but keeping it up always no matter what. As there are others in competition with you so that you feel like there is always a contest or like you are a contestant on a game show. Only here more like a dog and pony show that doubles as an etiquette seminar.
It examines such topics as of lying is really cheating so to speak in wooing. As many of us lie to our partners and ourselves in the path of settling as it’s not ideal but we don’t want to be alone. So we are willing to play a role and adapt to our partner even if we don’t seem to recognize the person we are becoming. At least there is a we and not just a me.
The film also shows how society and even culture sometimes looks down on single people. Yet cultivated them for products, but know In couples there is more spending power especially with offspring that only helps sales. Which also offers a need of more consumption as distraction.
While being a love story of sorts it exposes the dark side of love also, the jealousy it can cause no matter what or how much you try and avoid it. As no matter what when you fall in love there will be heartbreak as somehow your partner will disappoint you and might not even know it, it’s inevitable it is how to treat it and keep open communication that can cure it. Also the competitiveness love can bring about without it being planned.
The sacrifices some of us make to be with the person and even being on an even footing with them. As well as the satisfaction that can be found with another that makes one feel complete to a degree.
Sex isn’t as central to a relationship in a form. It is an ingredient but can also be avoidance of feelings especially of self. As you seek more instant gratification and enjoyment, but run from true emotional intimacy
No matter how much you try to resist it. Love will come into your life in many sorts of ways. It is how you treat it and react to it that shapes your life. True Love usually found when trying to avoid it.
How being in a couple can make it feel like it’s the two of you against the world. Friends and family be damned. You are the inhabitants of your own universe. A relationship can make you cut ties or forget your friends. Though eventually reality has to break in and you can either adapt or let it tear you apart.
Illustrated in the scene when Jessica Barden’s character (The Nosebleed woman) is saying goodbye to her friend. The two had been inseparable in the beginning, but now that she might have found someone and her friend is facing a different fate we see how coldly she treats her and how hurt and angry her friend reacts as the settle into their separate fates.
Colin Farrell (a Replacement for Jason Clarke) is fascinating in the role. Not the type of character he usually plays. Here he is more schlubby. Though for all the studio films he stars in time to time. He is usually formless as an actor and seems to excel playing in these more indie, strange type of roles. He seems to go all in, in these roles. Here he is noteworthy for being believable but also broadly comedic.
His brother by his side as a welcome reminder of the consequences if he fails. As his brother has already gone through this. It’s interesting once his brother is removed from him that the character finally turns rebellious and takes his chances. Maybe as the system put him and his brother there in the first place maybe bit of grief maybe it was thee all among and just needed a trigger to go off.
John C. Reilly is hilarious on his supporting role. More then in certain comedies where it feels like he might be trying too hard.
Rachel Weisz really ends up becoming the siren soul of the film. As we have seen her play roles like this before, but here she seems to have more depth.
Lea Seydoux is scary as the revolutionary leader who is sexy, seductive but never emotional though she lets them get the better of her. She seems to be the films model of betrayal.
The resort is like a well mannered nightmare bed and breakfast or a time share presentation vacation that never ends and has more dire consequences.
While it doesn’t explain anything got does make you want to know more about this world even as repressive as it seems.
How not only jealousy but jealousy makes you act Cruel ways you never thought you would be able to or even think you would on both good and bad ways
The ways in which we settle and lie about our true selves just because we don’t want to be alone or lonely even if it leaves us emotionally cold and loving a lie. How sometimes you will be thought of as soft to be emotional or showing any feelings. You are always supposed to stay picture perfect and transparent more for others even though it is your love and fate
It also examines what love can be, one we want or expect. Only the depth and the perils are different.
For all the successful relationships shown. There never seems to be any passion, emotions and overall no real happiness. So what we see is a certain stale content represented by Olivia Colman and her relationship.
Surprisingly for a film that seems so clinical at times manages to make the audience really fall into it and follow. Truly managing to get the audience emotional itself.
For all of it’s oddness and other worldliness the film never feels like a far off fantasy. It feels grounded but not exactly too strong.
It’s a film that haunts the viewer not while watching it bit after when thinking about it.
You Might even find yourself questioning the nature of your relationship or lacks thereof. Amongst the many other questions the film potentially raises and illustrates.