Directed by Giorgos Lanthimos
There are films where you should walk out after ten minutes. This was one of them. I finally decided to depart after 90 minutes but by then it was so obviously coming to the end, that I gritted my teeth and lasted it out.
It really is a foul, disgusting, violent film, and those Guardian and Independent reviews on the poster should have told me as much, “Mesmerizing” and “Thrilling” means something from most papers, but from these it too often means “They like it. It must be vile.” It was.
One shouldn’t be surprised that a film from Greece is about violence, bullying, lies, manipulation and incest; these after all are the themes of classic Greek tragedy.
It’s about a man who locks his three grown-up kids in a home compound and tells them lies about the world with the compliance of his wife. For instance, they’re warned that cats will devour them if they step outside. Planes are seen but he arranges for them to “fall from the sky” using model aircraft. Their whole world is a mountain of deceipt constructed by a vile sadistic father figure/ bully.
I’m told it’s a satire on recent Greek politics. The guy in the film is indeed the “father of his country.”
The acting, playing the totally evil manipulative father-figure and the near-autistic grown up kids, is completely brilliant. Can’t fault it. It’s just that overall there are too many violent scenes, especially sexual ones, and also extreme violence to animals and it leaves you wanting a long shower. You can tell the story without leaving the camera on the action that long!
Recommendation? It’s a powerful condemnation of the regime of the last thirty years. People praise the static camera. I just call it basic camera. It sticks in the memory. You wish it didn’t. Avoid.