This film from Greek director Giorgios Lanthimos proved to be a popular event at the QFT.
The film was billed as a shocking portrayal of children held captive by their parents. In reality it turned out to be far more shocking than most people were expecting.
As expected, in a style similar to Haneke, the film provided a darkly comic storyline which went on to fully explore the depths and depravity of human nature. However, it used topics that felt even more uncomfortable to watch than some of Haneke’s films, the foremost being the parents instigating an incestuous relationship between two of their children, which is then played out in full; uncensored.
It was interesting gauging the reaction of people watching the film: the viewer seemed happy enough to laugh along in disbelief with the story until this part of the film, at which point the mood in the theatre completely changed and suddenly we felt much more empathy with the suffering and naivety of the children. It was as if this was the first thing we had so far seen that we thought was totally wrong.
The few moments of sudden, shocking violence certainly produced stunned gasps from everyone in the theatre - especially from those who like cats...
The unresolved ending added to the general unease and left us feeling a bit short-changed, but it was certainly one of the most talked about films, with some people loving it and others feeling they couldn’t even rate it on the paper form everyone is given as part of the audience review!
That said, a film which can tell a disgusting and challenging story in this way and provoke a reaction like this from its audience is surely one worth watching, and the various technical ploys used to unsettle the viewer (unfocused framing, action happening just out of shot, people not framed correctly with heads ‘cut off’), never mind the disturbing plot mark it out as something different.
Dogtooth (Kynodontas (2010)): 4/5