LFF 2017: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Cert: TBC Runtime: 121 mins Director: Yorgos Lanthimos Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Barry Keoghan, Sunny Suljic and Raffey Cassidy

The return of the man, the myth, the legend Yorgos Lanthimos to my screen is a highlight for me at LFF. The Lobster director has captivated my mind with his body of work. Colin Farrell returns to work with this cinematic giant, along with the so hot right now Nicole Kidman. If any film was going to topple Raw for my film of the year it could be this! What is The Killing of a Sacred Deer about you ask? Steven (Colin Farrell) is a wealthy cardiothoracic surgeon who lives a harmonious existence with his ophthalmologist wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) and their two children Kim and Bob. Unbeknownst to his magazine-perfect family, Steven has formed an odd friendship with fatherless teenager Martin, to whom he brings gifts and offers financial support. When Steven decides to introduce Martin to his unsuspecting family, the sinister intentions of this strange young man become frighteningly clear.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer was a tame film for Lanthimos. That being said the dark road it takes is very Lanthamosian. From the opening shot of heart surgery you know you are watching his film. Killing of a Sacred Deer may not topple Dogtooth or The Lobster but it’s one of his strongest films. He seems to be evolving his style a lot more here, the use of tracking shots for long dialogue is sublime. The dialogue that Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou is so dry-pan, but the dark comedic tone resonates through out. As the plot develops as an audience member you are challenged to decide the fate of the characters, Lanthimos does well with audience engagement. The ending in particular was the tensest I have felt in the cinema for a while. The plot does wear slightly thin for a 119 minute run-time, it needed fleshing out more or possibly trimmed down a bit more. The use of a Shinning-esk score really keeps you in the right mood for the duration. The heavy prolonging drum is still giving me goosebumps.

Barry Keoghan is Martin has to be the most sinister and twisted teenager I have seen on film. The naivety in his face counterweight his satanic side. One of the most memorable characters I have witnessed in cinema for a long time. Hopefully he will receive the recognition he deserves. Colin Farrell’s second appearance for Yorgos was very different. The journey he takes during the film is mythological and the choices he make are tough. One imagines he enjoys putting a few extra pounds on for Yorgos. Farrell can not do any wrong in my eyes currently. Nicole Kidman has very limited scenes, she is so cold and hollow but that’s her character. She plays a mother I would’t wish on anyone, I loathed her (in a good way). As for Sunny Suljic and Raffey Cassidy they give very mature performances for such young actors. The Killing of a Sacred Deer can be a tough watch at moments, but it’s what Lanthimos thrives on. One of 2017’s best by far and a worthy British premier at London Film Festival.

8.5/10

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