The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer

Dis­turb­ing art-house fa­ble with Colin Farrell Dir: Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos 2hrs 1min (15)

The Week Middle East - - Arts -

Imag­ine you have the ideal life. You’re a suc­cess­ful sur­geon. You have a beau­ti­ful wife. But there’s one snag: the son of a pa­tient you ac­ci­den­tally killed has put a “death curse” on your chil­dren, mean­ing they’ll “be­come paral­ysed and stop eat­ing and bleed from the eyes and die” un­less you kill one fam­ily mem­ber of your own choos­ing. That, said Kevin Ma­her in The Times, is the chill­ing premise of Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos’s al­most per­fect art-house fa­ble.

For view­ers who’ve “yet to have the plea­sure”, Lan­thi­mos is a Greek di­rec­tor spe­cial­is­ing in “bour­geois-bait­ing ab­sur­dism”. Here, he coaxes bril­liantly deadpan turns from a bushy-bearded Colin Farrell and a brit­tle Ni­cole Kid­man, as the par­ents un­der siege. As­sisted by his reg­u­lar cin­e­matog­ra­pher, Thimios Bakatakis, whose cam­era “prowls around the cast like they are un­der sur­veil­lance”, he con­jures his sig­na­ture at­mos­phere of “per­co­lat­ing unease”. I’m in two minds about whether be­ing shocked out of my “bour­geois numb­ness” is how I want to spend my Fri­day evening, said Tom Shone in The Sun­day Times. Yet there’s one ex­cel­lent rea­son to see this film – Barry Keoghan’s chill­ing turn as the malev­o­lent hexer. The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer works both as “a pro­found med­i­ta­tion on karma, pre­des­ti­na­tion and guilt”, and as “a proper scary movie”, said An­drew Lowry in Em­pire. It boasts “near ca­reer-best work from all in­volved”. But be warned: this is not an easy one to watch.

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