Saturday, September 30, 2017

TIFF 17 Film Review - The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Old testament rules or even more severe ancient judgment are the principals that rule Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest feature Killing of A Sacred Deer. Taking of a life even if you did not mean to will have repercussions on your family ala the death of the first born of Egypt in the Ten Commandments.  With this premise in mind Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) a heart surgeon has taken a unexplained interest in a young man Martin (Barry Keoghan) Martin shows up at the hospital to see him unannounced but even when annoyed Steven always has time to see him.  His wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) is a leading ophthalmologist who along with Steven and their two kids Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Sulkic) live in a well to do area of town.  Martin ‘s involvement with the Murphy's builds when he is invited for dinner. The visitor immediately fascinates Kim coming off as the perfect gentleman throughout the evening. Martin request that Steven to return the favour and have dinner at his modest home across town. That evening does not go as planned with Steven scrambling to leave as things begin to get awkward. 

Director Lanthimos slowly builds the story unravelling the linkage between the characters. The players oddly to jump from hello to imitate personal details in the next exchange.  Remembering the initial premise consequences appear one morning when Bob tries to get out of bed to go to school finding he does not have the use of his legs. His parents think that he is joking at first but that is not the case. Next the same affliction befalls Kim then it’s revealed that Steven a former alcoholic may not have been right when he performed surgery on Martin’s dad.

Colin Farrell continues in a streak of playing flawed characters with the role of Steven. He feels bad for what happened thus tries to do what he can for Martin only to realize that friendships, guidance and gifts do not interest Martin. Barry Keoghan is haunting as the family interloper in the best tradition of family stalkers. He charms the entire family practically has a spell cast over Kim then is steady and unrelenting when pushed to move off of his position. Look for Alicia Silverstone is a minor role as Martin’s mother. She tries to keep a normal home for her son following the untimely death of his father.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a chilling tale that demonstrates that despite money or status when you have committed a wrong justice must be extracted. The most horrific aspect of the tale is how calm the family members are despite terrible symptoms occurring to the kids and they grow to learn  what they have to do to break the curse. It’s a compelling watch and  a film I can recommend.

****  Out of 4.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer | Yorgos Lanthimos | U.S.A. | 2017 |

Tags: Heart Surgeon, Ophthalmologist, Alcoholic, Operation, Watch Band, Rifle, Smoking, Gardening, Deadly Choice.  


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