In a peripheral and basse classe resort in Attica, a deracinated trio reenacts badly acted scenes of physical struggle. Lanthimos' procrastinated narrative has the capacity for irony and phenomenological revelation of deeply anchored everyday-life authority. Yet, the elimination of dramatic distance turns the distantiation effect on its head, delivering irritating camerawork and homunculi devoid of reciprocal bonds.
For a short film by a director I've previously enjoyed I found this immensely boring. I like the oddness though, and I'm glad that Lanthimos found a way to share that oddness in later films whilst not making the whole film so excruciatingly tedious. At one point near the end a character puts a towel around her neck to make herself pass out. It felt like a review of the film.
Three characters spend their time recreating violent acts to then capture on camera. What does it do for them? How did they make their connection. A lack of answers is both a strength & weakness here, with characters so lightly drawn that they threaten to fade away completely, and I assume that is also a very deliberate move to show how these people liven up and define themselves with their hobby.
The enigmatic Lanthimos creates a concept that requires more than a little patience much like a Diaz or Ceylan film. At first glance, this post-structuralist thinkpiece may seem like watching paint dry, but like every great avant-garde auteur, it forms the foundation for his subversive oeuvre and filmmaking portfolio. Like a seemingly banal piece in a modern art gallery, there is more than meets the eye.
Great to see earlier Lanthimos work and I wasn't left disappointed. As you would expect the film is an oddity but the themes of his latter work are all here. Violence, deadpan acting, eroticism but the key element as per norm is CONTROL. And the control comes with all the absurdity that you would expect and on occasion with hilarious consequences, if you're a bit warped perhaps... you may need to be.
This film is exactly what the current abuse debate is all about. It could have been called ‘Homage to Harvey Weinstein’. It is extraordinary the efforts the cast put into trying to get the young actress to take her top off First we have her attacked and beaten. Then she is injured and commits suicide. I don’t think this effort enriches anyone and no amount of intellectualising reduces the harm.
Lanthimos’ first film has many elements of his signature style that made his later films so impressive, but in “Kinetta” they’re not well developed yet. “Kinetta” feels like a rehearsal and lacks the tension of his later films. “Kinetta” could have worked as a 40 minute short film, but as a feature film it is downright boring. It wasn’t going anywhere, nor was I as a viewer expecting anything but the film to end.
After an auteur/director first successful movie, it's hard not to think about his previous works as a bit surpassed. 'Kinetta' has some WTF moments and bizarre characters, but something is missing - something that Lanthimos has found in 'Dogtooth' and has masterfully developed till 'The Lobster'.
You can tell that there are a lot of ideas bubbling in here, ideas that define Lanthimos's posterior works, but it's a bit done in an amateur, pretentious way. It gets better as you understand the at first impenetrable characters, topping it off with some sublime final scenes. The struggle scenes are also gripping and beautiful.
The dominant tone here is one of dislocation and disconnection, a world where human relating is replaced by fantasy, power games and perversity; the threadbare narrative and shaky handheld camerawork demand we keep our own distance as spectators. A difficult viewing experience and I'm not convinced it really needed 90 minutes to do its thing.