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Kinds of Kindness review: Bizarre sex-fuelled romp is outstanding but will be divisive in its weirdness

Kinds of Kindness review: Bizarre sex-fuelled romp is outstanding but will be divisive in its weirdness

The film is a bizarre watch, which is sure to put many off - and become the favourite of just as many

Many directors would follow up an Oscar-winning, internationally acclaimed film by trying to utilise that into their next big project.

Not Yorgos Lanthimos.

The Greek director, fresh off the heels of Poor Things – which saw Emma Stone win Best Actress in addition to a Best Picture nomination – has come out with Kinds of Kindness.

This is not a film geared toward commercial success, as Lanthimos has not followed the Hollywood formula of using previous success to leverage himself a massive payday or his next Oscar.

The Poor Things director has instead created something singularly weird, unsettling and, perhaps, brilliant.

The ‘perhaps’ in that sentence is intentional. Most viewers will likely come out the theatre the same as me, quietly confused about what they’ve just seen, but knowing that it had them gripped for its nearly three-hour screentime.

Kinds of Kindness is a tale of power, sex, and relationships, told over a three part anthology.

The star studded cast all play different characters in each of the three, with no plot elements crossing over.

(Searchlight Pictures)
(Searchlight Pictures)

Jesse Plemons plays a beaten down submissive employee, a struggling cop, and a quietly obedient cult member, whilst Emma Stone plays a mysterious debutante, a creepy marine biologist, and a fanatic member of the same cult as Plemons – but with secret ties outside the group.

Joining them in the cast are Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, and Mamoudou Athie – all of whom play a different character in all three.

All of this to say, this is a movie that crams so much in – it may be more than two and a half hours long but you still feel as if you’re left wanting more of each character.

Hunter Schafer has a brief but brilliant role in the film. (Searchlight Pictures)
Hunter Schafer has a brief but brilliant role in the film. (Searchlight Pictures)

Jesse Plemons is the undeniable lead of the first two narratives of the three, and as always, is quietly brilliant.

Plemons is so suited to the unique style of Kinds of Kindness, where everyone always feels as if they are speaking slightly off – something that the Breaking Bad and Power of the Dog actor is brilliant at.

The second of the three narratives focuses on his character becoming convinced that his wife, a marine biologist rescued from a shipwreck, has been replaced by someone else.

This is, to me, the strongest of the three, and that is thanks in large part to Plemons and Stone playing off each other so well in this – each taking their turn to just be aggressively creepy.

Stone is outstanding as always in Kinds of Kindness. (Searchlight Pictures)
Stone is outstanding as always in Kinds of Kindness. (Searchlight Pictures)

It should come as no surprise when I say that Emma Stone excels in the role. Stone continues to show not only a brilliant working relationship with Lanthimos, but a desire to pick some of the most interesting roles around.

Her commitment to weirdness, to the bizarre, and to supporting creative visionaries such as Lanthimos and Damien Chazelle should be applauded.

Ultimately, Kinds of Kindness is the sort of brash, creative, and bats**t cinema created by a madman that should be being made.

In an age where complaints are common that every movie is the same, this is a film that is truly and utterly unique.

(Searchlight Pictures)
(Searchlight Pictures)

More casual viewers may brush up against its weirdness, its lack of interconnectivity, and understandably, its runtime.

But that in itself is okay.

This is not a film made for everyone to try and be commercially successful.

Kinds of Kindness is above all else: unashamedly bonkers. It unsettling, creepy, and aggressively disinterested in spelling anything out for the audience.

To some this may not be their idea of a great time, and for many others such as myself – it will be a brilliant watch that will stick with them for days.

★★★★☆

Featured Image Credit: Searchlight Pictures

Topics: Emma Stone, Film and TV