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  • Writer's pictureJack Salvadori

Cannes #77 - "Kinds of Kindness" Review

Updated: May 27


After the uber-success of Poor Things, Yorgos Lanthimos delivers his second film of the year, Kinds of Kindness. In this minor work, the Greek filmmaker abandons the epic ambitions of his recent pictures and returns to the deadpan, twisted wavelength of his early career. Patron saint of the Greek Weird Wave, the Hollywood experience grants him total freedom- and a higher budget- to revisit to his twisted neurosis and perversely amusing awkwardness.


Kinds of Kindness is a tryptic of darkly comedic, unrelated stories centred around power dynamics and the irredeemable urge to please.

Other than the thematic motifs, the only link connecting the three episodes is the indistinctive and mysterious character of “RFM”, a dull figure who titles each segment and somehow unawarely plays a key role in each without speaking a single word.

The same few actors play multiple roles across the segments, always starring the director’s aficionados Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, and Margarette Qualley, and introducing Jesse Plemons to his stock. In each short they are confronted with surreally macabre decisions, waltzing between domination and emotional manipulation, and succumbing to committing personal sacrifices that echo biblical parallelisms. This is the kindness that the film sneeringly deals with, extreme acts of generosity driven by desperation and an inner fear of rejection rather than true love.

A discordant piano and unsettling choir score the absurdities on screen, and enhance the general paranoia that Lanthimos thrives in. The cherry on top is the new irresistible and soon-to-be iconic dance scene with Stone, to add to the director’s collection.

 

Yet, this newfound and fearless artistic freedom has its own disadvantages. With this film Lanthimos is simply having fun, shaking up his wicked creativity for its own sake, and thus resulting in a shallow ensemble that, despite the unquestioned entertaining element, wanders aimlessly without a clear destination. Perhaps the overproduction of two films per year might be detrimental to the works’ ultimate integrity and originality, and, just like for Wes Anderson, end up in a stylistic stalemate.


3.5/5


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