I’ve seen three films of Yorgos Lanthimos recently, The Lobster (2016), The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) and The Favourite (2018). I’ve been impressed by all three and of course he’s a great filmmaker, but I’ve been uncertain what to write about them. The unnatural dialogue and strange worlds are probably the most definable aspect of his oeuvre, yet all his films have such different subjects, making his prolific output even more impressive. So let me just say briefly what intrigued me about each particular film. The Lobster: at first the concept seemed a bit too eccentric and out there, a society in which single people are not allowed and turned into animals if they don’t find a “perfect mate.” Certainly we have parallels in places like Hungary where couples are given tax credits and all kinds of perks the more kids they have, but this seemed more fascistic considering the mate must be perfect for the person, and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with reproducing children. Still, the concept is intriguing and the details, as in all the films, are absorbing and fascinating, and sometimes hilarious! Being a single person myself who constantly feels criticized for being so despite the fact I couldn’t possibly have time to have a mate with everything I have going on and am trying to accomplish before I perish, I can certainly relate. The plot twists and the second half showing the opposite world were brilliant, the ending appropriate. The Killing of a Sacred Deer: based on the Euripides tragedy, the film is brilliantly creepy. I usually don’t read the summaries of films and for a while I wasn’t sure what was off about the world for a while, and who exactly was at harm. And that moral question never really dissipates and drives the film. The details are also interesting, but the conundrum at the heart of the film is what drives the drama and the overall viewer dilemma. The Favourite: despite all the amazing aspects of this film, from the story to the acting to the pacing to the gender role reversals, what really attracted me were the details of the 18th century world, particularly the bizarre dances, the wigs, the costumes. It’s strange how much fashion trends change throughout time, and also how often. I feel in the late 20th century they used to change every decade, yet despite the broad technological shifts, this century hasn’t seen much in fashion changes, it seems!
Tejas Desai is an American fiction writer, international adventurer and literary personality. Author of The Brotherhood Chronicle trilogy and The Human Tragedy.