REVIEW: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

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Review by Dustin Heller

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the new arthouse psychological thriller from acclaimed auteur Yorgos Lanthimos.  If you’re not familiar with Lanthimos’ work, it is definitely worth checking out.  It is a little off the wall, but riveting nonetheless.  He’s probably best known for his two Oscar nominated films, Dogtooth and The LobsterThe Killing of a Sacred Deer boasts an all-star cast headlined by Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman.  The film is rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, some graphic nudity and language.

Renowned heart surgeon Dr. Steven Murphy has what seems to be a perfect life; he’s very successful in his career and has a beautiful wife and kids he loves very much.  The one thing in his life that is a little unsettling is his relationship with a young boy named Martin.  Martin’s father died in the hands of Dr. Murphy at an early age and they’ve maintained an interesting relationship ever since.  As Martin begins to integrate himself into Dr. Murphy’s family even deeper, a sinister plan unfolds that will flip the entire family’s world upside down.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a twisted film that bends reality but is entirely engrossing at the same time.  For those don’t know Yorgos Lanthimos’ work, you might be totally shocked at how warped his mind is, but if you’ve seen any of his previous work, this is pretty much par for the course.  Hidden in his madness is a complete sense of genius that very few filmmakers possess.

The first half of the film is so riveting and eerily creepy because you have no idea what is really going on.  Once the cat is out of the bag, the film goes into full-on disturbing mode.  I will have to say that the first half of the film was much better than the second half for me, but the first couldn’t exist without the second (if that even makes any sense).  All of the characters in the film are cold and creepy, and they are played masterfully by the superb cast.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer will probably be the strangest film you will see all year, and it might also be one of the best.  Just have an open mind before going in.

Grade:  A-

The Killing of a Sacred Deer opens in Indianapolis on Friday, November 3

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