Yorgos Lanthimos' dry black comedy turns a Greek myth about family sacrifice into potent modern allegory.
"(He tries at one point to get Bob to walk by hoisting him out of his wheelchair and onto the floor, but the kid flops repeatedly.)"
This is only the second Lanthimos movie I've seen after Dogtooth, and I went in having no idea what to expect--no idea of the plot, no idea of the premise, I wasn't even sure what genre it was. But I ended up falling in love with it for the reasons you describe here. I don't think I've ever seen dark comedy done so straight-faced before? And that scene you describe in the parenthetical--literally a scene where a father is so desperate to get his sick son to walk again that he tortures him--made me laugh like a loon. I remember thinking "Wait, should I be horrified by this?", which only made me laugh harder. Just amazing stuff.
I haven’t seen this since it was in theaters (in fact, I don’t think I’ve re-watched any of Lanthimos’s films), but certain moments have stuck with me. His films have a way of doing that.
Also, HOLY MOTORS, hell yes!
As a Cincinnati resident who walked into this movie totally blind (based on my enjoyment of Lanthimos' previous films, I decided to avoid reading *anything* about this one ahead of time) while also being fully unaware that it had been filmed here, this movie was a real trip.
Because several significant scenes were shot in downtown locations near my work, including places I typically visited or at least walked past a few times a week, over the course of the film I started to wonder if I was experiencing a random paranoid schizophrenic episode. I knew that I wasn't being stalked by a mad Greek auteur, but at the same time the characters were hanging out in diners where I'd just eaten lunch, or riding their motorcycle past my afternoon bus stop, and in the moment it was horrifying.
On top of everything else in the movie (which I loved!), it felt like a scenario custom-made to creep out downtown Cincinnati denizens, an appropriately perverse "thank you" to the Queen City from Lanthimos himself.
Terrific! Will have to watch it now.
Such a great write up, but I have to confess this is the only Lanthimos film that I've seen that I haven't absolutely adored. I do wonder if seeing it in a crowd would have helped with the ultra dry humor but perhaps I owe it another shot. Certainly can't wait for the chance to catch Poor Things shortly.
There's a super short list of movies I've seen that I've found to be incredibly thought provoking but also truly unenjoyable, and this is one of 'em. That's no ding on the movie - I can curve into cringe harder than most folks but good goddang I can't curve this hard.
The climax made the friend I saw this with physically sick from the tension. He had to leave the theater. What a movie.