The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

By the director of The Lobster

In the opening scene of Yorgos Lanthimos’s new psychological horror The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, a beating heart is laid out on the operating table to provide a gruesome reminder of the fragility of life. Colin Farrell plays Steven, a cardiac surgeon who is forced to deal with matters of the heart in a cold and scientific manner on a daily basis but when his family are threatened with an inexplicable paralysis sickness he begins to crack under the pressure.

Poster for the caustic black tragicomedy The Killing Of A Sacred DeerAn intense turn from Barry Keoghan as creepy teenage stalker Martin is devilishly good. He becomes obsessed with the surgeon, his wife Anna (an icy Nicole Kidman) and their two children, and his intimidating presence adds to a sinister and oppressive ambience. The Lanthimos trademarks such as deadpan dialogue and dark humour conspire to create an odd, heightened reality where deeply distressing flashes of cruelty sit beside weirdly haunting images and hilarious bursts of confession.

At first it is not clear what kind of relationship exists between Martin and Steven. Is it sexual or is it an encouraging mentorship? To reveal that would be to give the game away, as much of the film is spent laying down juicy intrigue and suspense. Lanthimos and regular co-writer Efthymis Filippou deal with their themes of control, sacrifice, judgement and revenge with a chilling and operatic despair that swells to an overwhelmingly powerful degree.

– Katherine McLaughlin, The List

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