A far cry from glossy 2001 sex comedy "My Best Friend," co-directed with funnyman star Lakis Lazopoulos, "Kinetta," Yorgos Lanthimos' debut feature as sole helmer, takes the intriguing idea of an odd, unnamed threesome who groove on re-enacting murder scenes and turns it into a slo-mo car crash of dramatic stasis. Tolerant fests and needy cablers take note, all others beware.

A far cry from glossy 2001 sex comedy “My Best Friend,” co-directed with funnyman star Lakis Lazopoulos, “Kinetta,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ debut feature as sole helmer, takes the intriguing idea of an odd, unnamed threesome who groove on re-enacting murder scenes and turns it into a slo-mo car crash of dramatic stasis. Tolerant fests and needy cablers take note, all others beware.

In the eponymous, gone-to-seed seaside resort, a plainclothes cop (Kostas Xikominos) with control-freak tendencies, an eye for Russian women and a jones for one brand of luxury car, joins forces with equally eccentric photo shop clerk (Aris Servetalis) and hotel chambermaid (Evangelia Randou). Together, they ritualistically restage crime scenes of local women victimized by a serial killer, until their odd desires intrude on each others’ lives. Lanthimos’ point seems to be that everyone has their own private weaknesses, but after a Lynchian first act in this strange world, he avoids any mainstream dramatic or satiric elements. Thesps give athletic yet somnambulistic perfs in cryptic, thankless roles. Tech package is challenging, as Thimios Bakatakis’ handheld camera makes “The Blair Witch Project” look like a Merchant Ivory costumer.

Kinetta

Greece

Production

A Haos Films, Modiano, Top Cut, Stefi production. (International sales: Haos Films, Athens.) Produced by Athina Rachel Tsangari. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Screenplay, Lanthimos, Yorgos Kakanakis.

Crew

Camera (color), Thimios Bakatakis; editor, Yorgos Mavropsarides; music, Tzenh Banoy; production designer, Anna Georgiadou. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 8, 2005. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Evangelia Randou, Aris Servetalis, Kostas Xikominos.
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