Poor Things

Poor Things ★★

There’s a LOT going on in Lanthimos’s Frankenstein riff, and the vaguely Americanized, steampunk-style Europe that he builds is a spectacle to be appreciated in and of itself. But it also seems to very quickly overwhelm the director, to the point where the film seems to become about little more than the amazing sets—and a clunky agenda of feminist ideas that he can’t stop announcing to the audience, over and over. The script feels like it needed at least another polish and maybe even some comedic punch up; aside from being awkwardly political, it’s neither plain nor ornate, and I kept wanting the dialogue to feel richer, more complex. There’s also just a ton of exposition, which is a shock; Lanthimos’s past works have often been successful because they presented such outrageously twisted premises _without_ explanation, or with very little. Their power was in their opaqueness; by contrast there's very little in “Poor Things” that isn’t transparent or obvious. Add to that some appalling garish CG wide shots (if they weren’t produced with Midjourney, they may as well have been) and it really feels like Lanthimos is losing his way.

Screened at Regal Union Square.

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