Lanthimos’ glum, pungent and ingeniously titled film The Killing of a Sacred Deer had a touch of stylistic continuity in terms of deadpan and absurdist social satires from his previous film The Lobster, before going for a flamboyant jugular with his next movie The Favourite. However, where the preceding dystopian thriller was darkly funny, gleefully oddball and viscerally affecting, this felt overly glacial, emotionally off-putting and even a bit aesthetically stilted. That, along with the fact that this too had at its center a cold, violent and sociopathic teenager, reminded me a tad of Stoker and We Need to Talk about Kevin, arguably the weakest works of Park Chan-wook and Lynne Ramsay, respectively. Fortunately, the pointed commentary on bourgeois hypocrisy and self-centeredness, the charged atmosphere, and the running weirdness of the proceedings, did make it worth a watch. Continuing with his collaboration with the Greek filmmaker, Colin Ferrell again plays a dour and placid middle-aged man with a hidden ability for unexpected action as Steven Murphy, a cardiac surgeon who lives a life of banality, routine and elegant luxury with his stunning, sultry and frigid wife (Nicole Kidman in a kind of role that she’s made her own) and their kids. Their carefully structured life, however, starts coming undone upon his growing acquaintance with a mysterious, unctuous teenager (Barry Keoghan) with a connect with his past and with a nefarious plan that would take the Murphy’s to violent repercussions and hence the brink of their brittle civility. Farrell and Kidman were good in portraying the gradual rapture of their meticulously crafted façade; Keoghan’s crazed turn, however, made his character thoroughly alienating, even if largely bereft of additional dimensions.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Genre: Thriller/Psychological Thriller/Mystery