Moored in the middle of the Aegean Sea, a well-appointed cruise ship of wealthy men has exhausted all ideas for entertainment at their disposal – fishing, jet skiing, swimming – decides to play a game. Everything from sleeping position to appearance will be judged by the fellow passengers and given points – subtract four for showing off by doing push-ups, add 35 for knocking a fellow player off their windsurfing board, subtract 18 for snoring. The winner is given little more than the title of “the best in general” and a ring (the Chevalier).
Director Athina Rachel Tsangari (recognisable to English-speaking audiences as being present at the dinner table conversation in Before Midnight) is part of the recent Greek ‘Weird Wave’ that includes directors like Yorgos Lanthimos, who took aim at society’s fixation on monogamy in his terrific The Lobster. But while Lanthimos takes pleasure in incorporating humanity’s inherently violent nature in his allegories of modern society, Tsangari refreshingly keeps the games and her dissection of fragile masculinity mundane and personal and the competition something that naturally occurs. There’s fewer things funnier than watching the very sense of identity for a man be challenged over describing how he caramelises vegetables, the type of simplicity Tsangari builds her delightful and hilarious film on, and one that makes the inevitably twisted breaking point even more entertaining.