Consider a painter specializing in modern art whose canvasses are the work of bold, broad brush strokes. The strokes reek of vivid colors, combinations, and contrasts that are equal parts mesmerising, shocking, and otherworldly. Yet these are not mere strokes of color, they combine to portray layer upon layer of sly and playful insinuations - interwoven windows overlooking the myriad corners of humanity. And finally, the points where the different strokes meet are themselves masterclasses in clarity: deliberate, punctuated, and effective. This briefly sums Yorgos Lanthimos' exquisite body of work, particularly, "The Favourite".
He starts off with suitably outlandish premises (written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara). In "The Lobster", he sets up a world where single people are sent off to a clinic to either find a partner or be converted into animals. "The Favourite" sees an era when Britain is at war with France, the ruling queen (Olivia Colman) spents most of her time being ill, disoriented, indecisive, and in her bedroom, oblivious to the outside world. Her closest confidante (Rachel Weisz) is the chief driver behind the queen's decisions and has a room with a secret chamber connecting it to the Queen's bedroom. And then arrives a maid (Emma Stone) who is masterful not only at taking care of the queen but also at getting close to her.
This unboxes a delightful plethora of checkerboard moves among the characters, each indulging their whims and chasing their fancies. Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone are incredible in the film, packing delightful detail into each scene. Robbie Ryan's wide-angle heavy cinematography helps with placing the characters effectively into their crooked circumstances. Then there is the punchiness of the narrative brought about by Yorgos Mavropsaridis' razor-sharp editing. The film altogether has a very decided artistry, proving Lanthimos to be among one of the most original contemporary film artists.
"The Favourite" is out in theaters now.
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