Year:  2017

Director:  Yorgos Lanthimus

Rated:  MA15+

Release:  November 16, 2017

Distributor: Madman

Running time: 119 minutes

Worth: $16.00
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan

Greek provocateur Yorgos Lanthimus re-teams with Colin Farrell for another slice of absurdity.

This is an extremely strange and unsettling film – which is not to say that it’s consistently good. It hits the ground running with a close-up of an operation, but then becomes maddeningly – but evidently deliberately – mannered and distancing.

The central characters are wealthy heart surgeon Stephen Murphy (Colin Farrell) and his opthalmologist wife Anna (Nicole Kidman). They like to have sex whilst pretending that Anna is under general anaesthetic. Both of them speak in a flat deadpan manner, employing staccato phrases whether discussing the mundane or the important. So, for no apparent reason, do many of the other characters, who include the couple’s two children. It’s rather as if they’d consciously based their styles on that of the young David Byrne, circa “Psycho Killer”. It’s also hard to work out whether the effect is meant to be intermittently funny, and harder still to suspend disbelief.

So far, so-so. But Stephen has a friendship with Martin (Barry Keoghan), a distinctly odd – even in this context – and obsessive teenager whose late father was one of Stephen’s patients. We become mildly curious as to exactly how all these people relate to each other.

And then – ah, but that would be telling. Suffice it to say that at a certain point the story suddenly gets much more engrossing, even as it becomes absurd.

The music is effective, the widescreen cinematography is striking and the plot is, shall we say, unusual. And whatever its other strengths and weaknesses, there is at least one scene you are guaranteed to remember.

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  • cinemusefilms
    24 November 2017 at 8:07 am

    This film is a fine example of absurdism at its creative best. Free of the usual constraints of narrative logic, it leaves it to the viewer to work out whether this is a supernatural horror, a psychological thriller, or a black comedy…or all three.

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