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Kinds of Kindness: Yorgos Lanthimos Returns to His Darker, More Provocative Roots
Searchlight Pictures

Kinds of Kindness: Yorgos Lanthimos Returns to His Darker, More Provocative Roots

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Reader Rating0 Votes
4.3

After the grandiose spectacle of “Poor Things” (a film I didn’t care for), Yorgos Lanthimos must have felt the need to exorcise the demons of his own creation, stripping down to the raw, unvarnished core of his storytelling. “Kinds of Kindness,” now playing at the Fargo Theatre, is a triptych of tales that plunge into despair, desperation, and the deranged dance of fate. It’s a return to the cold, clinical style that first put Lanthimos on the map, reminiscent of the gut-wrenching weirdness of “Dogtooth” and the chilling absurdity of “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.”

This film isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a cynical, darkly comedic anthology that risks alienating its audience with every frame. Each of the three stories ends with a jarring dissonance that feels like a middle finger to the audience, a challenge to those seeking meaning or coherence. Lanthimos is playing a dangerous game, one where the rules are as inscrutable as the motivations of his characters.

KINDS OF KINDNESS | Official Trailer | Searchlight Pictures

The first tale, “The Death of R.M.F.,” introduces us to Robert (Jesse Plemons), a corporate lackey whose devotion to his boss, Raymond (Willem Dafoe), borders on the pathological. Robert’s life is a meticulous blueprint dictated by Raymond’s whims, from his dietary habits to his sexual encounters. It’s a disturbing glimpse into a world where autonomy is sacrificed at the altar of corporate deities. Margaret Qualley adds an eerie presence as Raymond’s wife, caught in the web of this psychosexual power play. Is it a critique of capitalism’s dehumanizing grip? Or just an excuse for Lanthimos to indulge in his bizarre fantasies with Plemons and Dafoe? Who the hell knows.

The second act, “R.M.F. Is Flying,” takes us deeper into the rabbit hole. Plemons is back, this time as a man mourning his missing wife, played by Emma Stone. When she returns, things get even stranger. There’s a humor here, albeit twisted, as Lanthimos toys with the audience’s patience, stretching the limits of surrealism. It’s a wild ride that might leave you scratching your head or screaming at the screen. Either way, you’re along for the ride, whether you like it or not.

Finally, we arrive at “R.M.F. Eats a Sandwich,” the pièce de résistance. Stone and Plemons are now cult members on a mission, under the thumb of leaders portrayed by Dafoe and Hong Chau. They’re hunting for a prophesied healer, leaving chaos in their wake. This segment has the cruel, biting edge that makes Lanthimos’s work so compelling. Stone is mesmerizing, delivering her lines with a chilling detachment. The ending is a brutal gut punch, a fitting close to this cinematic triptych of torment.

Lanthimos’s return to his darker roots should be celebrated, even if it isn’t going to resonate with everyone. Personally, I revel in it. There’s a raw, unfiltered energy here that’s both exhilarating and unsettling. Lanthimos is like a mad scientist, concocting his own brand of cinematic chaos. “Kinds of Kindness” might not cater to the masses, but it’s a wild, unpredictable ride that leaves you breathless and craving more.

In the end, Lanthimos doesn’t care if you’re comfortable. He’s here to provoke, to challenge, to push the boundaries of storytelling. And in “Kinds of Kindness,” he’s done just that.

Kinds of Kindness
Both exhilarating and unsettling
"Kinds of Kindness" might not cater to the masses, but it’s a wild, unpredictable ride that leaves you breathless and craving more.
Overall Enjoyment
Cinematography
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Acting
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Reader Rating0 Votes
4.3