“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos and stars Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, and Sunny Suljic. The film is about a surgeon and his family whose life goes into a major downward spiral after a certain teenage boy begins to involve himself more and more in their lives.
Yorgos Lanthimos made the brilliantly weird “The Lobster” last year, a film that I fell in love with more and more as time went on, so I was very excited to see what he could do from there. The trailers for this movie were also absolutely incredible, and just added to my hype that Lanthimos could go weirder, and darker this time around.
Yorgos Lanthimos is a genius in directing the bizarre, and he does a tremendous job at creating a certain tone and mood that allows this movie to work. This is a strange movie, to say the least, and it works so well because of the atmosphere created from Lanthimos’ direction, as he makes the performances, the scene, the score, and the plot all work in creepy unison, and, just like “The Lobster,” it is absolutely mesmerizing to watch.
The performances are all exceptional here, but Barry Keoghan, who was also tremendous in “Dunkirk” earlier in the summer, steals the show on numerous occasions in this film. Keoghan is creepy, bizarre, and absolutely insane in some scenes, and he plays it all effortlessly and gives one of the most unnerving performances of the year. Colin Farrell also gives a terrific performance in the lead, as his character faces a lot of inner turmoil, and Farrell is able to show this in a smart, subtle way, all while clicking very well with Lanthimos’ vision for the second straight time. Nicole Kidman is very good, as is Raffey Cassidy, but Sunny Suljic really impressed me in his role as Bob, as his character could have been minute and way in the background, but Suljic’s performance adds some unique elements and concepts to the storyline that I did not expect to see.
The cinematography by Thimios Bakatakis, mixed with the absolutely haunting score just adds more to the tone that Lanthimos is hoping to set, and it creates a very chilling, consistently tense effect. Bakatakis does a great job at implementing smart wide shots that create a sense of isolation, and the tracking shots do wonders in making it feel as if the main characters are always being watched or are brutally unsafe. The same goes for the score, which boosts up moments that would otherwise be dry or uninteresting.
I love the decisions made in the story of this movie, as it is a very unique concept, and it is all executed very well. This is a truly brutal film to watch at points, and that has everything to do with all the components I have listed above. The direction by Lanthimos allows for the actors to give performances that are original and very out there, and combining that with outlandish cinematography, a booming score, and a brilliantly original idea written by Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, and you have a movie that can be funny, tragic, and downright messed up all at once, which makes it a film that is hard to shake by the time the credits roll.
There are a few moments towards the opening half of the movie that are a bit dry and feel like they include dialogue that is weird just to be weird instead of having an overall purpose. This is bound to happen on occasion with Lanthimos and his style of very blunt, almost thoughtless dialogue that he uses, but for the most part, this type of dialogue works to his advantage, just not as much early on.
“The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is a brilliantly well-crafted horror thriller that has top-of-the-line performances, a killer script, and a true sense of atmosphere that makes the film an experience like no other. This is a movie that grabbed my attention immediately and almost never let go, and I loved where the story went, how the characters blossomed, and how beautifully articulated every single shot of the film is. This may just be a step up from “The Lobster” for Lanthimos, as this is a movie that works in almost every facet, and is one you should not miss if it comes to a theater near you.
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