Dogtooth in 2009. The Lobster in 2015. The Killing of a Sacred Deer this year. It seems that Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos has a thing for animals. Also one for Colin Farrell (but don’t we all?). After working on The Lobster, both gentlemen came together again to make The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Lanthimos as director, Farrell as leading man. What else do you need? A great leading lady! They found it in the amazing shape of Nicole Kidman, who really knows how to temper that male testosterone. The result? A deranged dark movie about a traditional family who is living a normal quiet life but then, like in any Lanthimos movie, everything might not be what it seems at first sight.
Both Farrell and Lanthimos had their own reasons on why they wanted to work with each other for the second time. Lanthimos was incredibly impressed by Farrell’s performance in The Lobster. Farrell, on the other hand, wanted to see if he would understand anything from working with Lanthimos and the movie this time around because, during the filming of The Lobster, he noticed that Lanthimos his films aren’t all that it seems. As he mentioned himself in a funny way, he failed in doing that this time around as well. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is about a traditional family who is living a normal quiet so it might seem odd that Farrell has a hard time understanding the movie. Trust us, when you will see the movie, you will get why it’s not that odd.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer tells the story about Steven (Farrell), a successful open heart surgeon and his wife Anna (Kidman), an ophthalmologist. They live together with their two teenage children Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Suljic), who are going through the typical physical and emotional changes every teenager goes through. So far, so good. Nothing out of the ordinary.
However, it doesn’t take long before Lanthimos decides to turn the story upside down while introducing some of the family secrets. It seems that Steven has mentorship and friendship with a teenage boy called Martin (Barry Keoghan), the son of a patient who died during one of Steven’s operations. Although something is off about their friendship from the start. Their meetings only take place in a local dinner and Martin is introduced as a friend of his daughter but clearly, he’s something else. When Steven decides to invite Martin over to meet his wife and children, things really become personal for both Steven and Martin. His daughter Kim becomes immediately smitten for Martin, the attractive but new and mysterious stranger, and Bob is also taken in with his new brother figure. However, introducing a secret friend to your family is never a good idea! Especially not when your friend has secrets of his own that might have huge impacts on your own family.
Our words won’t come close to describing what happens after that. The only thing you can do is go and watch The Killing of a Sacred Deer. However what you will get is an unbalanced (in a good way) movie with a mysterious vibe around it just like we expect from Lanthimos. He even decides to give the viewers a flashback to the mechanical cunnilingus of Dogtooth. Although it’s not only the well-made story that makes The Killing of a Sacred Deer a great movie. The dark, obscure cinematography from Thimios Bakatakis (Lanthimos regular cinematographer) leaves almost everything to the imagination and open to interpretation, which in this case is great. The acting performances are amazing all across the board as well. The chemistry between Farrell, as the cardiologist who’s drawn to the mysterious boy who might hold the key to life and death of his own family, Kidman, as the wife and mum devoted to her family and her work but also with doubts of her own, and Keoghan, as Martin, the secretive mysterious strange who might have more impact on the whole than initially thought, is vague but fascinating at the same time.
Just like us, you probably were wondering why the movie has the title that it has because it has nothing to do with killing a sacred deer. However, there might be an explanation for that during the film, if you can read in between the movie lines. Like in all his movies, Yorgos Lanthimos doesn’t give away secrets for free. So go and watch The Killing of a Sacred Deer because the secrets are really worth discovering.
Film and Celebrity Reporter Liselotte Vanophem, Just Celebrity Magazine