The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Cast: Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic, Bill Camp, Denise Dal Vera
Seen on: 24.1.2018

Steven (Colin Farrell) is a successful surgeon with a beautiful wife, Anna (Nicole Kidman) and two children, Bob (Sunny Suljic) and Kim (Raffey Cassidy). He’s also mentoring a young man, Martin (Barry Keoghan) who wants to be a doctor – an unusually intense relationship that seems to take over more and more of Steven’s life and brings Martin into Steven’s family.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer starts off strong, but once the actual story started, it began to lose me and started to drag. Nevertheless, it’s a very interesting film.

Lanthimos has created an entirely artificial world with his film. The dialogues are stiff, the acting is almost monotone and the characters are as stylized as the images. All of this could have gone very wrong, leaving the audience at a distance and I’d understand everybody for whom this didn’t work. But it did work for me – and very well to boot, creating an enchanting atmosphere that pulled me into its artifice.

In this case it was the plot that ruined things for me as I just didn’t need the drama of it. I think I would have been perfectly content if nothing big had happened in the entirety of the film. Instead we got served with a dark twist or five and I found that mostly exasperating and, frankly, boring.

So far, I’ve only really liked The Lobster from the movies Lanthimos made, but I keep returning to what he does anyway. Because even when I don’t necessarily enjoy or even appreciate the films, there is something about them. In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, it was the way the story is told in its artificiality, the great cinematography and the soundtrack. And of course, the cast who really didn’t have an easy job here and acquits itself admirably.

Despite all these good things, I can only file the film under “very interesting attempt”, but not really as a film that works.

Summarizing: won’t be a favorite, but it’s interesting.

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