THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
(director/writer: Yorgos Lanthimos; screenwriter: Efthimis Filippou; cinematographer: Thimios Bakatakis; editor: Yorgos Mavropsaridis; cast: Colin Farrell (Dr. Steven Murphy), Raffey Cassidy(Kim), Barry Keoghan (Martin), Nicole Kidman (Anna), Bill Camp (Matthew Williams), Alicia Silverstone (Martin’s Mother), Sunny Suljic (Bob Murphy); Runtime: 121; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Ed Guiney, Yorgos Lanthimos; A24; 2017-Ireland-U.K)
“The unsettling but artful movie might work for some more than others. But, whatever, it kept me glued to the screen as a shock and awe vehicle.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The title refers to Euripides’ “Iphigenia in Aulis.” That’s the Greek myth of young Iphigenia, who was offered as a sacrifice by her father, King Agamemnon, to satisfy Artemis after he accidentally killed the goddess’s sacred deer. Greek filmmaker, the writer of “The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos (“Dogtooth”/”Kinetta”), adeptly delivers an uncomfortable psychological horror thriller about suppressing one’s feelings in a revenge tale that touches on a modern-day Greek tragedy, that he co-writes in an austere way with Efthimis Filippou. The script calls for dead-pan mannered performances, which give things an eerie feeling.Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a top-rated successful heart surgeon from Cincinnati. He has a happy suburban family life with his respected ophthalmologist wife Anna (Nicole Kidman), a teen-age daughter, Kim (Raffey Cassidy), and a 12-year-old boy, Bob (Sunny Suljic). The doctor, a recovering alcoholic, has befriended the 16-year-old Martin (Barry Keoghan), whose father was his patient and died on the operating table when he performed surgery. Martin seems to show no ill will to Dr. Murphy, and is invited to his home with his flirtatious widowed mother (Alicia Silverstone) for a family dinner. Dr. Murphy wishes to take the kid under his wings and forms a relationship with him, which turns sinister when the doctor’s son Bob has his legs suddenly become useless and the doctor is told by Martin his condition will worsen and his family will also suffer from a mysterious paralysis and death unless the doctor makes an unthinkable sacrifice of one of his family members. Bill Camp plays the anesthesiologist friend of Colin Farrell. It’s an hypnotic watch, like something from a Kubrick horror pic. The Greek director takes us down an unattractive road of exploring such things as guilt, love and fear. The unsettling but artful movie might work for some more than others. But, whatever, it kept me glued to the screen as a shock and awe vehicle.
REVIEWED ON 3/30/2018 GRADE: B+ https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/