Kinds Of Kindness


Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Kinds Of Kindness
"The entire cast, especially Stone, who has admitted that Lanthimos is a muse, enter into the grand guignol spirit of the proceedings with gusto." | Photo: Fox/Searchlight

After his sortie with fantastical drama Poor Things (garlanded with no less than four Oscars), Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos returns with Emma Stone in Kinds Of Kindness which is more in touch with the sensibilities and ethos of his arresting earlier works such as The Lobster, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer and Dogtooth.

Kinds Of Kindness consists of three interconnecting stories all of which display his idiosyncratic flights of fancy. In the first Jesse Plemons, who has the demeanour of a young Philip Seymour Hoffman, is in the thrall of his tyrant of a boss (Willem Dafoe), who exerts control over every detail of his life. When he is asked to do an unthinkable task he discovers that a woman (played by Emma Stone) is in the same dilemma. Finally he is unsure if he actually wants the freedom at the end of the tunnel.

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In the second segment Plemons again re-emerges as a policeman who is tormented after his wife (again Emma Stone) disappears at sea. When she returns he becomes obsessed with the notion that she is an imposter and sets up a brutal series of tasks for her to prove she really is his spouse. It’s all very dark and disturbing.

And the third story finds Stone and Plemons as two members of a weird cult lead by the messianic duo of Dafoe and Hong Chau. They are on the look-out for a suitable saviour with the power to resurrect the dead.

How all the characters link-up and how the tales interweave is never entirely clear, which is what makes Lanthimos’s cinema so maddeningly and hypnotically watchable even if the faint-hearted may find some of it too bizarre to bear. And it’s better to come to it with a fresh and open mind.

The entire cast, especially Stone, who has admitted that Lanthimos is a muse, enter into the grand guignol spirit of the proceedings with gusto, surrounded by a conjunction of copious buckets of blood, severed body parts and gaping wounds.

At almost three hours long it’s a bit of marathon but Lanthimos declines to compromise his aesthetic and has confidence in his players and the audience that they will trust him wherever his journey may lead.

Reviewed on: 18 May 2024
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A triptych fable, following a man without choice who tries to take control of his own life; a policeman who is alarmed that his wife who was missing-at-sea has returned and seems a different person; and a woman determined to find a specific someone with a special ability, who is destined to become a prodigious spiritual leader.

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Writer: Efthimis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring: Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, Mamoudou Athie, Hunter Schafer, Krystal Alayne Chambers, Abi Beaux, Susan Elle, Merah Benoit, Jess Weiss, Victoria Harris, Tessa Bourgeois

Year: 2024

Runtime: 164 minutes

Country: Ireland, UK

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