• A masterpiece of auteur-driven formal and aesthetic choices, brilliant acting and one of the year’s best screenplays
  • It’s entirely Lanthimos—black, absurdist, profane—but it’s impossible to watch without thinking about Mankiewicz’s All Above Eve (the power-play with acidic writing), Birdman (a stylistic tour-de-force but a three-headed acting monster (also featuring stone)), Welles (those spectacular low-angles),
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  • Greenaway (mise-en-scene in total)
  • or even Dangerous Liaisons (mostly in narrative and acting as Frears is no Lanthimos when it comes to the stylistic bravado and dare I say genius)—it may be Kubrick or Bunuel more than any of these others—the worldview echoes both of them while the detailed stylists mimic Kubrick most closely with the tracking shots, natural lighting in a costume drama (how can you not think of Barry Lyndon?)
  • It’s Lanthimos’ first time not writing his own screenplay but you could’ve fooled me—the premise (a creation of a totally closed off world- an absurd world with strict rules) is his—Refn’s first time not writing his own (and last I believe to this point) was Drive– I see some similarities there—Lanthimos has come a long way visually
  • DP Robbie Ryan (American Honey, Fish Tank) gives Lanthimos most of the credit- said he basically is his own dp
  • The fisheye lens (ulta wide angle) is absolutely brilliant—it’s rigorously deployed formally, beautiful to look at and tied to the narrative—ditto for the angling work that again—is Welles when Welles was at his finest- we get ornate ceiling as mise-en-scene for just beauty (and my god this is a beautiful film)—but it also is an indicator for psychology, interplay between the characters
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  • Mise-en-scene symmetry from Greenaway or Wes Anderson
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  • Character depth- Colman (who gives largely the performance of the year two date and Stone and Weisz are 3 of the top 5 overall to date as of Dec 20 2018) has a backstory, a struggle- motivations
  • The costume work as part of the mise-en-scene—awe inspiring
  • Another aesthetic formal element that is carried out is the slow-motion sequences in moments of supreme absurdity—like the gorgeous duck race (Lanthimos always has animals, the Lobster) and the tomato throwing scene at the naked pear-shaped guy
  • The formally rendered chapter breaks taking a snapshot of the dialogue like Woody’s Hannah and Her Sisters  
  • The dance sequence is pure Lanthimos as well—gorgeous, but debunks, unravels and lampoons—a scene that will be recalled 5-10 years from now
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  • Speaking of 5-10 years from now I mean movies just don’t look like this. They are not this beautiful. The imagery like this happens a few times a year if you’re lucky- more likely it’s a few times a decade
  • A masterpiece