The Killing of a Sacred Deer review: a cinematic treat


Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

YORGOS Lanthimos really wants to get under your skin and set up camp for an uncomfortable and uneasy two hours.

If you let him, you are in for a cinematic treat.

Surgeon Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is keeping a secret from his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) and his children Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Suljic).

He is having secret rendezvous with mysterious teenager Martin (Barry Keoghan), meeting in isolated locations, and buying the kid an expensive watch.

Turns out, Martin is the son of a man who recently died on the operating table, and Steven feels obligated to meet with him.

But things get weirder when Kim and Bob suddenly and without explanation, become paralysed, unable to move their legs, and Martin warns that worse is yet to come.

From the opening extended shot of open heart surgery, through to the monotone delivered dialogue and the unusual, overbearing score, The Killing of a Sacred Deer feels like a nightmare in slow motion and wants you to feel anxious.

This is more about mood than anything else.

Another oddity is the inclusion of 1990s teen sensation and Clueless star Alicia Silverstone as Martin’s boundaries-less Mum.

While there is not as much subtext going on here as in Lanthimos’ last film The Lobster, a brilliant satirical black comedy (which also stars Farrell), his unusual style littered with the blackest humour remains and is still impressive to behold.

THE ESSENTIALS

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (MA)

Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Alicia Silverstone

Four stars

Review by: Julian Wright

In cinemas now