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Manuel de Layet [Celluloid 05.23.17] United Kingdom horror action thriller drama mystery



Editor's Note: "Quick Takes," as the name suggest, are initial impressions on movies from our man-on-the-ground at Cannes.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer, dir. Yorgos Lanthimos

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the first Lanthimos film with an actual ending rather than a cliffhanger from the ninth circle of frustration. That said, the settings and narration are cryptic as usual.


There's something incredible about the way he manages to always bring the audience into his vision, this perfectly normal yet incomprehensibly alien alternate reality he's developing since Dogtooth.


The emotionless deadpan delivery and out of place sentences do bring a permanent feeling of unease and bewilderment that is truly unique to his work.


Guilt is the underlying theme this time, a guilt of Biblical consequences. I'm going to have a lot of fun writing the full paper once I'm back. I need of few reference books on symbolism to tackle this one without worrying about saying something stupid (well stupider than usual).








The Villainess, dir. Jung Byung-gil


The Villainess is also something unique. Think Hardcore Henry meets "The Young and The Restless."


I did witness a rather standard Korean melodrama layered with the most incredible action sequences of this year.


The opening, starting in the first person, is breathtaking in both intensity and sheer mastery of action cinematography. The picture is worth watching for these few minutes alone, the rest is more unequal. Sustaining the initial rhythm during the two hours of runtime is obviously impossible without consequent sacrifices to the narration so the pace does slow down, rather organically to introduce the story.


The good old "short periods of chaos with long periods of waiting" take on the semiotics of war. The waiting is your usual Korean melodrama, the kind you will spend more time explaining than watching. There's love, betrayal, sacrifice, emotionally driven flashbacks, a fugly kid in close up talking with its mouth full of badly chewed rice, and globally enough sugar to kill a diabetic.


The whole concept feels like something out of a committee on how to bring two usually conflicting demographics to see the same picture, but I do have to admit that despite some non-action parts being a tad long for my taste, the whole does actually work incredibly well.



Recommended Release: Dogtooth


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