This was my first experience of a Yorgos Lanthimos film and it definitely WAS an experience.
Steven (Colin Farrell) is a cardio-surgeon and he has befriended the son of one of his patients who has died. Whilst this starts out all very respectful it eventually turns into something more sinister, causing grief, stress and, ultimately, an incredibly hard decision.
When Steven and Anne’s son, Bob, suddenly falls ill and is unable to use his legs, the stress starts to show, the mask of control and emotionlessness begins to slip. But then they fall back into Lanthimos’ style between these punctuations of emotion and energy which gives it a definite surreal quality. However, when his daughter Kim also succumbs to this illness, things begin to become clear and we understand the situation more fully, and in knowing this, it heightens the tension more (in terms of plot, not from the actions of the characters on screen, which is strange).
Both Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell are really impressive in this. They maintain the style throughout but still manage to convey their emotions, no mean feat. But the stand out performance is from Barry Keoghan (who had a role earlier in the year in Dunkirk). He is at once polite and also malevolent and, in keeping in the style of the film, maintains a composure that is beyond his years. It is pretty chilling stuff.
This film is gorgeously shot and incredibly acted but unfortunately, for me, the plot left something to be desired. On top of this I wasn’t sure about the stilted, emotionless, perfunctory dialogue delivery and this is a shame as there is a really good film in here but it just didn’t quite work for me. It was certainly an interesting take and the style and acting gave something I hadn’t seen before. Overall I think I liked this, but then again maybe I didn’t. Much like the characters I have ended up surprisingly emotionless on this as the alternatives are too confusing to work out!
Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆