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Kinds of Kindness is Yorgos Lanthimos at his trippy best

Yorgos Lanthimos directs a distinguished ensemble of actors, including recent Oscar recipient Emma Stone, in his ninth film, "Kinds of Kindness," produced by Searchlight Pictures. Lanthimos also penned the film's screenplay, characterized by a unique triptych fable. The film features a notable cast, including Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, and Mamoudou Athie, each playing integral roles in the interconnected fables, linked by a character named "R.M.F." The unique storytelling of the film is sure to intrigue and captivate audiences.

The initial fable, titled "The Death of R.M.F," portrays the story of Robert (portrayed by Jesse Plemons), wedded to Sarah (Hong Chau). Robert is under the dominance of his overbearing employer, Raymond (Willem Dafoe), who dictates every aspect of his life, including arranging Robert's marriage to Sarah and ensuring their incapacity to have children.

One day, Raymond directs Robert to intentionally crash his car at a specific intersection to end the life of an individual identified solely by the initials R.M.F., who has consented to this fatal destiny. Robert's failure to carry out this directive results in his life spinning out of control. This fable's visual and auditory design, particularly the use of striking lighting and eerie sound effects, effectively establishes the backdrop for a series of intense events.

The second fable, "R.M.F. is Flying," revolves around policeman Daniel (Plemons), who becomes apprehensive when his wife Liz (Emma Stone) resurfaces after being lost at sea, exhibiting a markedly different demeanor. Daniel receives support from his best friend Neil (Mamoudou Athie) and Neil's wife Martha (Margaret Qualley) to help him maintain his composure. Among the three narratives, the second storyline stands out as the most compelling, as Plemons demonstrates his acting range, delivering a sharp contrast from his role in the initial narrative. The supporting cast also provides commendable performances, adding depth and engagement to the film.

The concluding fable, "R.M.F. Eats a Sandwich," narrates the tale of Emily, convincingly portrayed by Emma Stone, and Andrew, portrayed by Jesse Plemons. They are part of a cult led by Omi, portrayed by Willem Dafoe, and Aka, portrayed by Hong Chau. This cult fervently believes in the existence of a woman possessing the extraordinary ability to resurrect the deceased. The narrative takes an intriguing turn when Emily unexpectedly encounters her ex-husband, Joseph, portrayed by Joe Alwyn, and the daughter she abandoned to join the cult.

Considering Yorgos Lanthimos directed Emma Stone to her second Oscar win, it is unsurprising that she collaborates with him again, portraying intensely brutal and sinister scenes with palpable enthusiasm. Stone remains prominent in the final installment of this series, delivering yet another celebrated performance. Ultimately, "Kinds of Kindness" marks Lanthimos's return to his distinctive blend of dark humor, extreme scenarios, and moments that aim to evoke discomfort among viewers, a unique blend that is sure to intrigue and excite.

"Kinds of Kindness" features Yorgos Lanthimos' unyielding approach, focusing on controversial content. The lengthy runtime may only resonate with some mainstream audiences. While the film is compelling, a trilogy release was preferable. Nonetheless, it showcases Lanthimos at his best, engaging the audience throughout.

Final Grade: B+

"Kinds of Kindness" is currently available in limited release and will be expanded on Thursday, June 27th.


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