The Killing of a Sacred Deer – Review

Nicole Kidman as Anna Murphy and Colin Farrell as Steven Murphy in The Killing of a Sacred Deer – Courtesy of A24.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is an oddity among many screenplays, as it unconventionally creates an emotional storyline without much emotion – another step in solidifying Yorgos Lanthimos’ peculiar style.

In this strange story we follow a Doctor (Colin Farrell) attempting to atone for a mistake he feel he made.

From the director of the Oscar nominated film The Lobster (2015), comes an equally peculiar film that will completely take the uninitiated by surprise. With both Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman both returning from starring recently in The Beguiled (2017). This stoic and apathetic story of a father, his family, and his mistakes that hold consequences all wrap into this deadpan and lifeless world. As the majority of the characters in this film all lack personalities and emotions, this intentional trait made you constantly guess what each character could be thinking. The writing for this film was brilliant, as we get layers of drama, thriller, and even comedy all throughout the film. All throughout we get an uneasy sense that something isn’t right, from the film’s unnerving music, to the dialogue, everything in this film is designed to put you on edge and make you question plenty of its big questions, and man, this film has big questions.

While Colin Farrell offered up an mediocre performance on multiple accounts, Nicole Kidman took it home with her easily likeable personality and emotions. Barry Keoghan who played George on Dunkirk (2017) displays what could be regarded as the most surprisingly acted role of the year, his performance was as cold and menacing as you could have ever imagined.

The cinematography in this film was outstanding, as its uniquely placed shots added depth and perspective into this strange world. It’s clear Yorgos drew inspiration from his previous film and carefully attempted to create a difference between them, as the tone and colours are distinctly different from one another. It was an interestingly strung film, and while the pacing was a little up and down it had intensity and depth and helped keep you curious.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a film that truly is an acquired taste, don’t expect to understand much if you don’t often indulge in films with unclear meanings, but I feel the writing is more than enough to deem a viewing.

8.6/10

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