The Killing of a Sacred Deer

by Justin Johnson

I really didn’t know what to expect when screening The Killing of a Sacred Deer.  Had not Collin Farrell and Nicole Kidman been leading roles, it probably would not have been on my radar as I had not seen previous films by Yorgos Lanthimos.  I don’t want to spoil this movie, but I think I am doing a service to say this is not a horror movie or a revenge movie per se.  Both genres could be misconstrued by the trailers.  The movie is a slow paced unfolding of a warped reality shattered by sinister events that force the hand of our good doctor Steven Murphy.  The writing is superb for its creepiness.  Most of the dialog is played out to a silent score, very little sound/music accompanies most scenes and when it does its an escalation of orchestra to hit the senses when needed.  Some of the dialog ventures well into obscene and vulgar but with a point, not for the sake of vulgarity.  Still, I felt very uncomfortable during some of the exchanges, unfortunately, not everyone may feel this way do to the times we live in being so liberal and accepting.  This is not a comfortable movie.  There is not some big point to the story that leaves you thankful for the journey.  It’s a well acted story with little purpose.

The movie offered little to no redeeming qualities and most reviewers left the theater saying “interesting” or “thought provoking” but little praise was offered.  Had there been some self sacrifice or some measure of selflessness/love in the actions of our leads, we would have been inclined to sympathize with their plight.  And that’s where the movie fell short for me, we can’t relate to the story unfolding…  which leaves us distanced by the time our climax is reached.  Part of me really wished for something different or more out of the ending, but we are not given such gifts.  We are left somewhat awe struck and confused.  I imagine film students are going to love this movie, the  rest of the world will probably be split.  I for one can’t recommend it, I personally can’t stand a movie without any redeeming qualities.

1.5 out of 7 – Rated R for nudity (uncomfortable nudity that I wish I had known ahead of time as I would have avoided it) and violence.   While a well done movie, without any redeeming qualities, I can’t recommend it and with the disturbing content is best left alone.