The Killing of a Sacred Deer
(Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017)
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
Summary: Devastatingly powerful and disorientating filmmaking, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a true original.
There’s a sense of uneasiness that washes over The Killing of a Sacred Deer as if all of the characters were just coming out of anaesthesia, still drowsy and confused but trying with all their primal might to return to normality.
Coming off as a cross between a classical Greek tragedy and something more akin to Kafka’s absurdist post-modern fiction, The Killing of a Sacred Deer grips us with its nightmarish narrative.
Colin Farrell plays a surgeon whose chequered past comes back to haunt him in the presence of the son of a patient he left dead on the operating tale.
Barry Keoghan (best known for his small but critical supporting part in as a heroic cabin boy in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk) plays the teenage son with unnerving energy that seems to unravel ever darker with the script’s own twisted u-turns.
Without giving anything away, as soon as this teenager arrives on the scene the doctor’s entire family becomes sick, disintegrating before his helpless eyes.
As far as metaphysical revenge tales go, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is up there with the best and most interesting genre subversions.
The suspense echoes Hitchcock, the energy Godard, the performances Cassavetes but make no mistake, Yorgos Lanthimos is an auteur in the making in his own right.
The DVD contains a decent Q&A session with the director and main cast in which Farrell demonstrates his passion and own wide-ranging analysis of the enigma he himself is beautifully entwined within.
For anyone looking to escape the humdrum of typical genre cinema and stodgy awards-bait drama, be sure to hunt down The Killing of a Sacred Deer.