The strange relationship between a cardiac surgeon and a 16-year-old boy portends a terrifying sacrifice, in this eagerly awaited supernatural thriller from Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Alicia Silverstone.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Yorgos Lanthimos has been an established darling of art-house cinema since his wildly imaginative 2009 feature Dogtooth. His subsequent films Alps and The Lobster further expanded the eerie blend of wild surrealism and psychological thriller that excited audiences around the world. Now, with The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Lanthimos puts his sophisticated technical bravado to work in the service of a hypnotic, oddball horror whose title and story reach back for inspiration to Greek tragedy.
Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a cardiac surgeon who develops a paternal friendship with a 16-year-old named Martin (Barry Keoghan). Over time Steven introduces Martin to his wife (Nicole Kidman) and two children. The boy, determined to ingratiate himself into this unfamiliar new family, becomes something like an adopted son. It's not long before things start to get strange — very strange — and the plot of Euripides' play Iphigenia in Aulis makes its entrance.
There are many keys to the brilliant effectiveness of The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Two central elements are Lanthimos' creepy control over every element of his film (the dialogue's peculiar cadence, the precise use of setting, the cannily perfect casting) and cinematographer Thimios Bakatakis' mesmerizing, unsettling, yet elegant camera work. This is a film that demands you enter its universe — and the rewards are many.