A couple of years ago I was exposed to a film which I found rather difficult to understand. Whether it had something to do with the differences in…
Here is the thing. “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” is a difficult film to discuss and analyze. If you know anything about director Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Lobster”), then you might have some idea of what to expect from this film, but I saw “The Lobster” and that still did not totally prepare me for what I was about to see in “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.”
Rumor has it, Colin Farrell (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”), who played the role of Steven Murphy for THIS movie, felt physically sick shortly after he read the script. I applaud his intestinal fortitude.
I will not say that this film DID have its moments of true comedy, but it was fairly sparse, in my view, even when compared to “The Lobster.”
Almost every actor/actress in this movie was affective in raising my eyebrows, whether it be for the shock of what they managed to say with their lips OR do by their hands. I have witnessed Nicole Kidman (“Lion”), who played Anna Murphy, be a creepy individual, but never in such a raw and primitive fashion.
Children have come a very longs ways as actors. It was once believed that children should not even participate in acting for movies, but I digress…
While Raffey Cassidy (“Tomorrowland”) and Sunny Suljic as the children of characters Steven and Anna were impressive, given the nature of the story, they still take a backseat to Barry Keoghan (“Trespass Against Us”) as Martin. There is a lot I could say about this performance and nearly all of it would be positive, but to sum things up: THIS ranks as a one-of-a-kind portrayal, within the realm of Anthony Perkins in 1960’s “Psycho” and Edward Norton in 1996’s “Primal Fear.” I wish I could say that Keoghan will get the recognition that I think he deserves, but there is really no way to tell at this time.
In the early stages of this film, I really did not know what to make of it. The characters seemed to behave oddly. Their emotions were flat and they appeared to be unflappable. As the story turned, quite dramatically, the shifts in emotion, though swift, were not overly dramatic and that really worked to the advantage of the movie. It made the unfathomable actions easier to take in, as difficult as they still were and there was no need for any of the characters to climb any higher than they already had, so to speak.
There were moments, some strangely funny, but many otherwise, that made me think and wonder about the human condition under duress. We cannot even imagine the places our minds can take us, depending on what we are forced to experience. However, in the moment, it is all too real and there is nothing to wake up from.
It is much like when one watches an old episode of “The Twilight Zone.” The viewers and the participants might not know precisely WHY they are going through what they are going through, but at some point, it does not really matter. In a way, that can make the situation more unsettling. Now, there IS, indeed, a story behind the story in “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” but some important details are left out and they do nothing to hurt the overall story. They only serve to keep the viewer unhinged.
Did I mention that Alicia Silverstone was in this movie? She only had one scene and it was really just to establish the presence of her character. She was every bit as deranged as almost everyone else in the film. I digressed again…
It was better than “The Lobster,” but not as enjoyable. I know that does not make much sense, but if you were to really think honestly, you could probably think of more than one movie that you really like, but could not call as good as some other film. “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” will bother more than a few people, but for those who are able to last to the end, they will be rewarded by at least one amazing acting performance, in the midst of several other great ones.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Screenwriters: Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou
Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic, Alicia Silverstone as Martin’s mother and Bill Camp as Matthew the anesthesiologist
Release: limited, October 27th 2017