The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

2017 Screenflowers #12: The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

By dorrk, February 25th 2018
Our two children are dying in the other room, but yes, I can make you mashed potatoes tomorrow.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is another marginal pick as a "Screenflower" — it features mainstream Hollywood stars (Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman) and gained a wide release, even playing (to mostly empty houses) in my local suburban mall cineplex. But the movies of greek director Yorgos Lanthimos are intentionally weird and off-putting. While his previous movie, The Lobster, earned Oscar recognition for its screenplay, and his 2009 breakthrough Dogtooth was nominated as Best Foreign Language Film, The Killing of a Sacred Deer has gone without much notice, despite wading in the same darkly comic subversive waters.

Lanthimos has a delightfully menacing way with taking what are, essentially, the diseased equivalent of fantastically absurd Young Adult fiction "what if" premises, and drilling them tighter and deeper into coils of fear, shame and desperation burrowed somewhere behind the brain, just out of range of conscious reckoning.

The Lobster, while a lot of fun and full of surprises, wore out its bizarre premise early and I failed to follow its seemingly divergent final act. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a more simple (but equally unnatural) premise and I found a lot of implausible pleasure in its teasing and abusive narrative, as well as Lanthimos' peculiar style of rhythmic tension.


Trailer for The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

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