Saturday, May 12, 2018

Movie Review: "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" (2017)

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Year: 2017
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minutes

A heart surgeon is forced to make a horrific decision to make amends to the teenage boy that blames him for a past tragedy.
"If you're going to dig a hole in the yard, better make it a big one." (Image Source)
Oh, look! A movie by Yorgos Lanthimos! We wonder if it's going to be weird and depressing and offer a cynical look at life and the choices we are often forced to make!

"The Killing of a Sacred Deer" is the latest film from director Yorgos Lanthimos. He also wrote the film along with his regular collaborator Efthymis Filippou, who worked on "Dogtooth" and "The Lobster" with him. The film stars Colin Farrell as cardiac surgeon Steven Murphy. Joining him are Nicole Kidman, Raffey Cassidy, and Sunny Suljic, who play his wife Anna and his children Kim and Bob. Also in the film is Barry Keoghan as Martin, a damaged teenage boy who Dr. Murphy has taken under his wing. Martin has a tragic connection with Dr. Murphy that may very well be his downfall. Finally, Alicia Silverstone makes a brief appearance as Martin's mother. At first, it seems like Martin and Dr. Murphy are good friends. As the truth about their pasts unfolds, we discover Martin holds some resentment toward Dr. Murphy and will soon force him to make a difficult choice so he can make amends for the tragedy that connects them.
"There's nothing to worry about in my opinion." (Image Source)
Yorgos Lanthimos prides himself on trying to make his films as provocative as possible. In "The Killing of a Sacred Deer," there seems to be little message beyond the initial provocation and his "what would you do?" scenario. We're starting to realize that as a director, Lanthimos seemingly demands stiff and unnatural performances from his actors, so much so that we wondered if the script was actually written by Tommy Wiseau. Lanthimos wants the audience to believe that the entire cast is made up of pod people from the fifth dimension...that or they are all sociopathic serial killers (which is not a far stretch this time around). It's really hard to call intentionally monotonic acting "good," though the actors do manage to pull off being emotionless automatons very well. If Lanthimos' goal was to make us believe that this movie is filled with cold-blooded psychos, mission accomplished! The film takes such a cold intellectual approach towards the value of human life that it would make Ayn Rand proud. It's obvious that his ultimate goal is to create something supremely shocking, and though the score and some of the aspects of the film can be unsettling, it didn't really leave us all that shocked. We found ourselves so disconnected from the characters and felt so little for and about them that we didn't really care what happened to them, especially considering none of them have any redeeming qualities.
"I will literally make you eat your hair." (Image Source)
In the end, there are some technical aspects of "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" to be appreciated. Unfortunately, the movie left us feeling a little flat overall. It doesn't have enough impact for us to entirely recommend it, but fans of Lanthimos' previous films will probably wind up loving this one.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.1/10
RT Rating: 80%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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