The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Disturbing art-house fable with Colin Farrell Dir: Yorgos Lanthimos 2hrs 1min (15)
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.