The Killing of a Sacred Deer review by Bobby Blakey
One of the most bizarre films in recent years and one of my favorites was director Yorgos Lanthimos’ film The Lobster. Now he is teaming up with Colin Ferrell once again for his latest film The Killing of a Sacred Deer also starring Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic, Bill Camp and Alicia Silverstone. Could this be another unique piece of cinema brilliance or will it be too deceiving to deliver?
The Killing of a Sacred Deer follows Dr. Steven Murphy, a renowned cardiovascular surgeon presiding over a spotless household with his ophthalmologist wife Anna and their two exemplary children, 12-year-old Bob and 14-year-old Kim. Lurking at the margins of his idyllic suburban existence is Martin, a fatherless teen who Steven has covertly taken under his wing. As Martin begins insinuating himself into the family’s life in ever-more unsettling displays, the full scope of his intent becomes menacingly clear when he confronts Steven with a long- forgotten transgression that will shatter the Murphy family's domestic bliss. After seeing The Lobster I had no doubt that this film was going to be unique, but it was so much more than I expected. This is going to be a hard film to review as it really needs to be seen with fresh eyes and an open mind to fully realize the unique brilliance of it all.
The performances were excellent across the board with each character stoic and unique. There isn’t a moment throughout this film with these people and their dialogue that isn’t off putting or bizarre. There are a lot of mundane moments as we walk through this bleak bizarre insanity but they are all part of tying it together. Sure there are some aspects that could have been trimmed, but I felt it added to the strangeness of it all. Farrell is awesome here offering up a very uncomfortable performance that works to sell his character. Kidman is probably the more normal of the bunch despite some of the things she is involved in. The real breakout here is from Barry Keoghan who goes all in for this strange role. He is consistently uncomfortable looking and in turns make the audience feel that way around him all while being someone compelling that you can’t stop watching.
The film takes its time getting to where it wants to go, but it is completely worth the journey. There are unexplained elements throughout that will no doubt confuse some, but sometimes you just have to let things be what they are and make your own predictions. This is a film that will not work for most people as it does require a special mentality to really grasp not only what they are trying to say, but also ti stick with it in all of its unconventional brilliance. Much like The Lobster I had to sit with this a bit before really coming to turns with how I felt about it. I wish we could get more films like this that are very Hitchcockian in nature and offer up something original and compelling that really makes you question what you are watching as it makes for a great unique experience. Whether you like this film or not it will no doubt get you talking about it.