For most audience members that have seen The Lobster they will be more than prepared for the type of narrative that is in store. But unlike his previous film, Lanthimos is not interested in making us laugh, not even a little. Collin Farrell stars as Steven Murphy, a cardiologist who deals in saving lives. His wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) an ophthalmologist, daughter Kim (Raffey Cassidy), and son Bob (Sunny Suljic) round out his extremely perfect family. The universe that these characters inhabit is sterile, clean, and rarely crowded. The dialogue, co-written by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, are conversations that are to the point, as if everyone is fearful of offending one another. This creates an eerie tension behind every moment. The first half of The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a slow turning of a vice grip.
The character that mixes up this perfect world Barry Keough's Martin. We first meet him talking to Steven outside his car by a bridge. They share a cigarette and talk about watches. There is a creepy unspoken connection between Martin and Steven. There is no blood relation or spoken bond, but Martin is clinging onto everything about Steven's life. He shows up at his work, begins a conversation with his daughter, and seems to know that he has a sense of power to hang over Steven's head.
What makes The Killing of a Sacred Deer so intriguing is the amount of interpretations this film could take shape of. There is obviously a battle between good and evil. The concept of heaven and hell is permeating throughout the film, with cinematography from Thimios Bakatakis centering his shots and often shooting from above or below. As the film progresses, revealing exactly what the connection is between these two characters, it becomes a dive into the darkest depths of torture that one family can endure. Steven is forced into making a choice, one that we wouldn't wish upon anyone.
My review may seem a bit vague, but that is because it is best to walk into The Killing of a Sacred Deer knowing as little as possible. If there is a major flaw, it would be the languid pace, which becomes challenging for even the most skilled movie watcher. The impressive performance from Collin Ferrell however, makes up for any flaws, delivering a character commitment that makes his working relationship with Lanthimos one of the cooler connections in cinema today. Not to mention, the supporting work from Kidman and Keough are equally balanced, rounding out the films stellar cast.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is not for the faint of heart. It's challenging cinema, like other films such as Lars von Trier's Antichrist, Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, or more recently Darren Aronofsky's Mother! The final result will disturb you, shake you, and leave you pondering what you saw. The sacrifice you make to see this film is totally worth it.
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady
MOVIE: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
STARRING: COLLIN FARRELL; NICOLE KIDMAN; BARRY KEOUGH
DIRECTED BY: YORGOS LANTHIMOS
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
It's a scary place inside the mind of director Yorgos Lanthimos. The Greek auteur who rose to new heights with his futuristic look at dating in The Lobster, continues to walk audiences down a dark path, rooted in reality and imagination that most people never dare to approach. In his recent work The Killing of a Sacred Deer, it is a battle between heaven and hell, with sport on performances from Collin Farrell and Barry Keough, this is a film that will leave audiences uncomfortable, never forgetting this twisted tale.