I had a couple nice surprises today. Though I have liked some of Alexander Payne’s work (I adored his short in PARIS J’TAIME and I liked DESCENDANTS and NEBRASKA and ABOUT SCHMIDT), I wasn’t terribly excited about seeing DOWNSIZING. It’s a satirical allegory about a man who decides to partake in a new government subsidized program that shrinks you – thus taking up less space, consuming less food, etc…it also allows you to live a potentially more lavish lifestyle – because your dollars go further when you need less of everything. I wasn’t prepared for just how funny this film was going to be…yet still provide a mirror to contemporary injustices. Critical response has been mixed, but I was engaged from beginning to end and liked what this film had to say.
Next up was the world premiere of THE CHILDREN ACT, directed by Richard Eyre (director of IRIS and NOTES ON A SCANDAL). Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci star in this British film about a family court judge who must determine difficult cases – i.e. should a set of conjoined twins be separated if one will certainly die even though they’ll both die if left conjoined. The screenplay is so smart, and Thompson is in top form. There is no trailer yet for this film, and it has not been picked up for distribution…but I’m certain it will. Thompson and others were there to introduce the film and then answers questions after the film. It was a wonderful Q&A and I did manage to get a couple pictures. (there is no trailer yet for this film)
My last film of the day was the terribly dark and disturbing film THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. (This film was shot in Cincinnati!) Starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, this film will is about a teenage boy who forms a relationship with the doctor who he believes is responsible for the death of his father. After he befriends the entire family, he begins to terrorize them. With parallels and similarities to Greek tragedy (and in my opinion – Michael Haneke), this film is a in a category of its own. The performances are intentionally a bit stifled and peculiar, but everyone is 100% invested in the off-kilter world that Lanthimos has created. The sound design and score are an eerie and terrifying addition, and many audience members didn’t know what to make of this film. (Which is kind of what happened with the diretor’s most recent film THE LOBSTER.) Though I applaud the craft and was entirely absorbed during the screening of this film, it’s one that I have no intention to see again. In my opinion, DOGTOOTH is still this director’s masterpiece. (my pic from the Q&A is below)
Thanks for reading!