- A masterpiece of auteur-driven formal and aesthetic choices (wide angle lens, natural lighting, slow-motion photography, tracking shots down the corridor) featuring 2018’s best acting and equally remarkable writing
- 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 wordplay- in one scene Stone even covets some earrings like Anne Baxter would do with the Davis character’s clothes), Birdman (a stylistic tour-de-force but also a three-headed acting monster (also featuring Stone)), Welles (those spectacular low-angle shots (a stunner at 34 min mark) capturing ornately designed ceilings),
- Greenaway (the avant-garde baroque mise-en-scene in total- how about the fabulous tapestries on the wall) or even Dangerous Liaisons (mostly in the venomous 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 though—the worldview from Lanthimos echoes both of the great masters while the visual details invokes Kubrick with the tracking shots down the corridor (what a setting), 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 vacuum of a universe with strict rules) is his—Refn’s first time (and last time at least until 2020 the time I’m writing this) not writing his own 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 (ultra-wide angle) choice is absolutely masterful —it’s rigorously deployed formally accentuating and denoting the crazy different-ness of this insulated toxic biosphere, beautiful to look at and tied to the story/setting—ditto for the angling work that again—is Wellesian we get baroque ceiling as background mise-en-scene for just attractiveness (and my god this is a beautiful film)—but it also is an indicator for psychology, oblique and askew interplay between the characters
- Character depth- Colman (who gives one of the 2-3 best performances of 2018) , Stone and Weisz are have a backstory, a struggle- motivations. Each have their highlights and moments- I love Stone’s posing as a monster
- The costume work as part of the mise-en-scene—awe inspiring- Sally Powell worked on Orlando, Carol, The Irishman, Hugo
- 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, rabbits here again) and the tomato throwing scene at the naked pear-shaped guy
- Blindfolds in his films- a trait- Lanthimos builds his own worlds like Lynch or Tarantino (this isn’t a part of the film but even his posters are a piece in a collection of a whole)
- Mise-en-scene symmetry from Greenaway or Wes Anderson 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 (he almost always has one)—gorgeous, but debunks, unravels and lampoons—a scene that will be recalled 5-10 years from now
- 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 that
- There are two strong extended dissolve editing sequences — and these are formally sound as well. The first is when Colman’s Queen Anne has her long battle with gout. It comes back again at the brilliant conclusion with the dissolve as she descends into madness. At the 80 mark she foreshadows (and names the type of edit- haha) and says “I will dissolve and disassemble”—genius.
- Not surprised to read afterwards that Cries and Whispers (a visually bold, vicious tale involving three women from Bergman) and The Draughtsman’s Contract (Greenaway) were important texts to Lanthimos
- A Masterpiece
“Not surprised to read afterwards that Cries and Whispers (a visually bold, vicious tale involving three women from Bergman) and The Draughtsman’s Contract (Greenaway)”
Is this an incomplete statement?
@Zane- haha yes it is- thank you for the help cleaning that up
How’d you rank the 3 performances here?
I think it’s
1. Colman/ Wiesz (if forced to chose I’d go with Colman)
I think Wiesz’s deadpan Dilevery is highly important for much of film’s humor. She wins every moment. Remarkable performance.