THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (15)

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (15)

Run time: 109 mins

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Sunny Suljic, Raffey Cassidy

Synopsis: Steven Murphy is a renowned cardiovascular surgeon presiding over a model household with his coolly beautiful ophthalmologist wife Anna and their two exemplary children, 12-year-old Bob and 14-year-old Kim. But Steven is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart when the behaviour of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR5Y3F3N-5I

Packed with enigma – not least in the title which references the sacrifice of Iphigenia in Euripides’ Greek tragedy, Iphigenia at Aulis – director Yorgos Lanthimos [The Lobster (2015)] brings us this psychological horror film boasting a Cannes Film Festival Best Screenplay award for its script co-written with Efthymis Filippou.

Riveting suspense and creeping dread become almost unbearable in this strange psycho-drama where Dr. Steven Murphy [Colin Farrell – The Lobster (2015), The Beguiled (2017), In Bruges (2008)] is a charismatic cardiovascular surgeon presiding over a model household with his coolly beautiful ophthalmologist wife Anna [(Nicole Kidman – The Beguiled (2017), Big Little Lies (2017), Lion (2016)] and their two exemplary children, 12-year-old Bob (Sunny Suljian) and 14-year-old Kim (Raffey Cassidy). Lurking at the margins of his idyllic suburban existence is Martin [(Barry Keoghan – Dunkirk (2017)], a fatherless teen whom Steven has covertly taken under his wing. As Martin begins insinuating himself into the family’s life in ever-more unsettling displays, the full scope of his intent becomes menacingly clear when he confronts Steven with a long-forgotten transgression that will shatter the Murphy family’s domestic bliss.

Powerful, original with unsettling dark humour, dialogue delivered in monotone and packed with non-sequiturs, The Killing of a Sacred Deer has nods to Haneke, Hitchcock and De Palma; the acting ensemble is top notch, with Barry Keoghan especially building on his impressive performance in Dunkirk this summer.

With beautiful cinematography from Thimios Bakatakis (The Lobster) and a chilling soundtrack with an unsettling orchestral score, the weirdness of the moral choices and the darkness of the inevitable narrative trajectory result in a new interpretation of the Iphigenia myth for the 21st century.

Images courtesy of: CURZON/ARTIFICIAL EYE