Two films were reviewed this week and both were on Netflix.
First I watched The Florida Project which had my attention because Willem Dafoe was nominated as a Best Supporting Actor in his role. This is a simple story about a budget motel outside Disney grounds in Orlando. There are a group of characters at the motel, along with some single parents and all are women, mostly tattooed up here there and everywhere. The children run around with little oversight and are generally obnoxious. Dafoe plays the Office Manager and fix-it-guy who is responsible for the property and maintaining peace. He can nip problems in the bud, or prevent things that may happen. He also watches and sees what his customers are doing. He gets more in his job than he bargains for, especially with the children. I don’t see the Nomination quite frankly for him. Yes he was decent, but there are other roles to me that are more crucial and add more value for the lead roles. In the end this is a tale of poor circumstance and poor choices with adults who shape the lives of these children, and yet have no real direction for themselves.
The other film was one I thought I heard rumblings about at TIFF. Killing of the Sacred Deer, is a modern day telling of a Greek fable. There is reference to which Greek fable in the film, but that really is not all that important. I did not know that going in (and I puzzled over the title of the film to begin with). This is a story by the same director as The Lobster. I like this one more and it is more impactful. Colin Ferrell stars once again, and does a really good job, along with Nicole Kidman, and the children who play their kids. Add to that another young man who is a central part of the story. There is dialogue here between the parties involved that is polite, but not quite normal communication. It’s stilted and truncated almost. It gave me the impression of it being more like a fable. Farrell plays a heart surgeon and he has his wife (Kidman) an opthamalogist, and two kids. We are introduced to a young man that Farrell has seemed to befriend. The story then unfolds in ways that I did not anticipate nor will I share at this point. The Ebert review I think went too far in describing the plot and I won’t duplicate the mistake. To me, this film is best seen as it unfolds. Quite honestly my reaction to it was “wow”. It goes from being somewhat slow and unsure of itself to then gaining some momentum to where there is such tension and thrill as to where it will go next, that it will stay with you for some time afterwards. Without a doubt this is a TIFF film. But also it would be one where I am glad that I was able to see it and reflect upon it. Happy to have discussions later if others have had a chance to view.