Kept in the dark, unsure of what is going on, the orchestral score running deep into the pit of your stomach before you’re caught off guard by a striking image, a beating heart (I think anyway, I don’t know anatomy) open in surgery, horrifying but beautiful at the same time. The opening scene of The Killing of a Sacred Deer gives you all you need to know about Yorgos Lanthimos’s new film.
I could end my review now, but I’ll try and put into words my experience of this film without spoiling the story, this is really one you want to go in to with a blank slate. The basic premise is ‘A Teenager’s attempts to bring a brilliant surgeon into his dysfunctional family take an unexpected turn.’
If you saw The Lobster (and if you haven’t it’s on Netflix, you should see it) then you will know that Yorgos Lanthimos likes to make weird films and this one is no exception. The joy of this film is not knowing what’s going on and trying to figure out from every image and every small tick from the characters on screen, what on earth you’re actually watching. You’re left in the dark for a lot of it as it goes from surreal drama to a plot you might see in a Batman film before it’s tense and jaw clenching final act.
The cast of this film are incredible, the three mains being Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and Barry Keoghan. Keoghan who was last seen in Dunkirk gets a lot more screen time here to show off his acting chops, I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of him after his performance in this film. Like I said before though, the whole cast is on top form, fully investing you in the characters, all relishing in Lanthimos’s dead pan style.
The cinematography is crisp, clean and an awe to look at, pushed along with this loud orchestral score that’s terrifying to behold as it comes through when the tension is at breaking point. It reminded me of one of my other favourite films this year, Raw, with its horror nature mixed with the surreal. It’s a delight to watch even if it could have been a tad shorter but not all of these kinds of films are as easy to watch, be invested and lose yourself in it.
The Killing of a Scared Deer carries on the trend of great cinema in 2017, if you can take a bit of surreal with your film watching then go see this one in the cinema ASAP. I’m rating it a 4.5/5.
Have you seen it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!