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The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Format(s) Available
DIGITAL
Opening Date
04 Jan 2018
Rating
M18 Some Nudity
Runtime
121 mins
Language
English - subtitles to be advised
Genre
Drama, Thriller
Director
Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast
Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Barry Keoghan
Synopsis
Steven (Colin Farrell), an eminent cardiothoracic surgeon is married to Anna (Nicole Kidman), a respected ophthalmologist. They are well off and live a happy and healthy family life with their two children, Kim, 14 (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob, 12 (Sunny Suljic). Steven has formed a friendship with Martin (Barry Keoghan), a fatherless 16 year-old boy whom he has taken under his wing. Things take a sinister turn when Steven introduces Martin to his family, gradually throwing their world into turmoil and forcing Steven to make a shocking sacrifice or run the risk of losing everything.
Reviews
By Say Peng  04 Jan 2018
Yorgos Lanthimos is on a winning streak. In 2009, the Greek director unspooled his film Dogtooth at Cannes where it won Un Certain Regard’s top prize. In 2015, Lanthimos created a critical storm with The Lobster, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes. Two years later, Lanthimos returns with The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which bagged Cannes’ Best Screenplay award.
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Yorgos Lanthimos is on a winning streak. In 2009, the Greek director unspooled his film Dogtooth at Cannes where it won Un Certain Regard’s top prize. In 2015, Lanthimos created a critical storm with The Lobster, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes. Two years later, Lanthimos returns with The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which bagged Cannes’ Best Screenplay award. With each film, Lanthimos is developing and sharpening his macabrely unique vision that combines absurdism, tragedy, and pitch-black comedy. 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer follows Steven, a heart surgeon, played by Colin Farrell, and his family of a wife, Anna, played by Nicole Kidman, and two children, Kim and Bob. Like Dogtooth, we are at first treated to a veneer of a perfectly ordinary well-to-do family. We get a hint that something is severely not right when we find out how Steven and Anna have intercourse. Anna will ask Steve if he wants it “General anesthetic?”, Steve nods, and Anna will robotically remove all her clothing and lie down on the bed motionless as if she were comatose on a hospital bed. Steven will then proceed with intercourse. 

We are introduced to another character, Martin, a youth with ambitions to be a doctor, whom Steven seems to take under his wing. Their relationship is unclear. Martin makes himself friendly with the rest of Steven’s family; his daughter Kim, in particular, who develops a crush on him. We soon learn that Martin is not as innocent as he looks and that his history with Steven started when Martin’s father died under the surgical hands of Steven. Steven is back for revenge. 

Admittedly, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what is going on. But one scene offers a decisive clue but one which audiences not prime in Greek mythology may miss. It’s the scene in which we learn that in one of the characters’ school essay, he wrote about Iphigenia, the daughter of Agamemnon whom Agamemnon had to sacrifice to appease the goddess Artemis because he killed a sacred deer and angered the goddess. 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is not a film for those looking for easy and simple narratives. But if you are one for the absurd and the bizarre, if you are one who wants to watch a visionary director at work, this is a must-see film.
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