Movie Review: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Author: T.M. Powell

If you thought The Lobster was a strange and unusual piece of film work, director Yorgos Lanthimos’ takes his unusual style to whole other uncomfortable level in his new thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and Barry Keoghan. The film focuses on a wealthy cardiologist named Dr. Steven Murphy (Farrell) and his relationship with a troubled and strange young boy named Martin (Keoghan). Murphy is trying to look out for Martin, because of a past personal connection which really comes into play as the movie progresses. Although Martin comes across as a kid who is not all there, he seems harmless at first as Steven introduces Martin to his family. Things start to go south though in a serious way when Martin presents Steven with a moral dilemma that could shatter his family into pieces in a torturous game of physiological warfare with many victims.

If Yorgos Lanthimos’ intentions were to make the audience as uncomfortable as possible while watching The Killing of a Sacred Deer, the director succeeds with flying colors. From the dialogue and character interactions in the beginning of the film before all Hell breaks loose to the awful choices the Murphy family must make to save themselves, Lanthimos attacks the audience with many intense situations that will make the audience squirm in there seats. Barry Keoghan creates a total creep in Martin that starts out misunderstood then morphs into something completely different and terrifying. The young actor stands out in the cast  every time he’s on-screen as he makes you feel uneasy to a certain degree depending on the situation.

Nicole Kidman plays Steven’s wife Anna and does and excellent job trying to play the one grounded character reacting to the madness and drama stirred up by Martin. Both Farrell And Kidman share a few scenes that make you feel as if you’re snooping on life you really want nothing to do with scenes concerning body hair and menstruation. The acting and intense vibe set by Lanthimos are big positives in The Killing of a Sacred Deer, but unfortunately the eccentric director seems to paint himself into a corner as to what direction he wants to take this thriller.

The route Lanthimos does take is a cruel version of Sophie’s Choice in the third act and will make you walk out of the theater with disgust (especially for those who have children). There’s no redemption, closure or explanation of certain circumstances in The Killing of a Sacred Deer which is frustrating to watch with such mean ideas being explored. The visuals in the conclusion border lines bad taste coming across as silly considering how serious the subject matter is. More than anything, you’ll just want this bloated sadistic act of awkwardness to be over. If you want to feel terrible for no good reason, then check out The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

Overall, I give A Killing of a Sacred Deer 2 out of 4 stars. 

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