Co-Writer/Director: Giorgos Lanthimos
Running time: 94 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 18
Genre: Drama (subtitled)
UK Release date: 23rd April 2010
Watched on Sky+ Monday 2nd May 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This Greek film got a lot of praise when it first came out, and I can see why. It’s very strange; but at the same time it’s strangely compelling. I should point out that it does have subtitles, so if you don’t have the patience for them then maybe you’re better of not reading further. OK, so with the subtitle haters gone, we shall continue.
Three teenage children, two girls and a boy, all live with their parents in a large house in the countryside. A high fence around the property keeps them safe from outside influences. The children are home schooled and are encouraged to compete with each other every day. The son is of an age where he is sexually active and, in order to keep his urges in check, he is visited by Christina who comes every week or so. She is paid by the father who blindfolds her and drives her there and back. They are never allowed outside the compound, in fact they don’t want to go outside the compound, but the oldest daughter is getting curious.
As I said at the beginning, this is a very strange film; everything about it seems very unconventional. The children are taught that words that mean things from the outside are actually things inside their world. For instance, “sea” is a large chair in the living room, or “zombie” is a small yellow flower. Even the way the film is made is quite strange, you quite often see shots where everyone’s head is out of shot, above the top of the screen. I found the dialogue really odd at times too, not just the language difference, but the way things are said seems quite bizarre at times.
Good performances all round; Christos Stergioglou was excellent as the father, very convincing and Michele Valley did a good job as the mother. Aggeliki Papoulia was also excellent as the older daughter and Mary Tsoni as the Younger Daughter, Hristos Passalis as the Son and Anna Kalaitzidou as Christina all did a good job also.
A very compelling film with some scenes of sex and violence that may disturb a few. It always keeps you guessing just what might happen next. Quite controversial with some very unusual views on the world, it will certainly get you thinking. A very even pace all the way through, no incidental music to speak of, but still a very interesting piece. I really enjoyed it… Highly recommended.
My Score: 8.4/10