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The Killing of a Sacred Deer: Yorgos Lanthimos is a Madman, and I Can’t Wait to See What He Does Next

January 17, 2018

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Before I get into the review I really want you to watch a clip from The Lobster. Director Yorgo Lanthimos shot The Lobster before The Killing of a Sacred Deer and I think it will give you a good idea of what his films are about.

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What I love about Lanthimos is how he blends humor with pitch black comedy. You will find yourself laughing at the most insane things imaginable and you really don’t feel bad about it. His dialogue comes across an as an alien language that nobody on the planet would ever speak, yet it feels natural in his films. If you can get into the feel-bad vibe and overall insanity of his films you will find joy in the bleakness.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer revolves around a surgeon Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) dealing with an incredibly squirrelly young man named Martin (Barry Keoghan). There is something amiss in their relationship and it’s evident he keeps this kid in his life because of a past wrong he committed. Steven lies about how he met the kid, and tells his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman – awesome) and co-worker Matthew (Bil Camp) differing stories that would never hold up. You can tell that Steven hasn’t thought this through, and doesn’t consider Martin to be dangerous or conniving.   Steven introduces Martin to his family and very weird things start to happen. I’m not going to go into specifics because they are crazy and would wreck the insanity of the plot twists and ending.

Lanthimo’s dialogue is truly odd, but if you can ride it out you begin to understand the flow and appreciate what he is going for (bleak quirk). Also, this film and The Lobster have made me appreciate what a great actor Colin Farrell is. He was fantastic in In Bruges, The New World and Beguiled, but those roles weren’t quite as odd. In this film the dialogue is clipped, stilted and nobody on the planet would sound similar. However, Farrell embraces the odd and finds a way to own the dialogue and direction and have fun with it. If you are going to be in a Lanthimo film you need to trust him and I love how the actors dive in and embrace the art. Here a clip from the film that will help you get a feel for the dialogue.

In the end, I much preferred Dogtooth and The Lobster to The Killing of a Sacred Deer. I missed the dark humor that permeated Lanthimo’s first two films. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy his latest effort, I just agree with Farrell when he calls it the “feel bad movie of the year.” The experience didn’t leave me shook or exhausted, it left me feeling like I enjoyed the film while never wanting to watch it again.

If you are into odd dialogue, dark humor and blood you should watch The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

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