Shut-In Cinema: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

How can you not be delighted by the darkly comic films of someone named Yorgos Lanthimos? Welp, mostly because I’d bet they slipped under your radar. Sure, you may have watched The Favourite because of Olivia Coleman’s Oscar win and you may have scrolled right passed The Lobster on Netflix, but you should have stopped in and given them a look. Hell, I defy most of you to honestly say you know the movie Dogtooth. But I’m not here to chastise you, I’m here to offer you something fun and weird to watch as the walls close in.

I’m speaking, of course, about the 2017 film The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

The movie is about Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell), a recovering alcoholic and brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon. He lives with his wife, Anna (Nicole Kidman), and his children – Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Suljic). He befriends a weird young boy, Martin (Barry Keoghan), and suddenly his family begins to all get sick. Oh, and Martin’s weirdly creepy mother is Alicia Silverstone. 

The cast is stacked ten stories high, but that still didn’t draw a lot of attention. It should have, and definitely for the way Lanthimos spent two films allowing fat Colin Farrell to shine onscreen. It’s such a muted performance from a man who takes on increasingly stranger roles (super excited to see his take on Oswald Cobblepot in Matt Reeve’s The Batman), and here his bizarrely uncomfortable father-figure-role is so weirdly awkward and disconnected. His entire performance is standoffish, uncomfortable, and yet charged with a weirdly sexy energy because he’s Colin Farrell so of course it is. His chemistry with Nicole Kidman is also just…strange. It’s magnetic to watch, but you can tell they have such an odd relationship. I won’t tell you why, but you can tell. 

On top of all this we have Barry Keoghan. You won’t recognize him from much unless you remember Nolan’s Dunkirk, but if you remember that he has a relatively slow role that he does very well. In this, though, he’s all-out wild. Seemingly autistic, brilliant, sweet, and off in unsettling ways, Keoghan is all kinds of awesome and I was very excited to look up more on him by the end of the film. He’s in a couple of episodes of Chernobyl as well, so check that out (you should have already). 

Those that enjoyed black comedies of years passed will find some fun in this. It’s ugly comedy, but it turns out to be right up some people’s alley and I think it’d work really well with the right setting. Picture it: you’re bored at home, you’ve nothing to do except have a glass of wine and pop a movie one before bed after clocking out of your remote-from-home job, and you take this sucker in. It’s fun, weird, ridiculous, and yet makes total sense in the end. Even the darkest moments are wrapped in such funny situations that you can’t quite figure out whether to laugh or scream (note that his is not a horror movie). It’s a surreal feeling you don’t get from many other filmmakers and I cannot recommend this enough.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is currently streaming on Netflix.

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