Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic, Alicia Silverstone, Bill Camp
Written by: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing violent and sexual content, some graphic nudity and language
Running Time: 121
Date: 10/20/2017
IMDB

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

'Deer' and Present Danger

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Following Dogtooth (2010) and The Lobster (2016), Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos delivers a brutal, skillful psychological horror, proving that he's unafraid to peer into humanity's most uncomfortably dark depths.

In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, surgeon Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) has befriended a 16 year-old boy, Martin (Barry Keoghan), following the death of Martin's father on the operating table. After at time, Martin becomes closer to Steven and his family, his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman), his teen daughter Kim (Raffey Cassidy), and his young son Bob (Sunny Suljic).

Martin even invites Steven to his own home for dinner, where Martin's mother (Alicia Silverstone) shamelessly flirts with the happily married man. Then, suddenly, one morning, Bob's legs go numb and he is unable to walk, as well as unwilling to eat. Martin visits once again and explains that Bob's condition will worsen, and the rest of his family will follow, unless Steven makes a terrible sacrifice.

Drawing easy comparisons to Stanley Kubrick because of his chilly, cavernous spaces and mid-level lighting, Lanthimos also recalls the great French master Robert Bresson with his method of stripping down performances to an emotionless essence. The actors' line readings can seem stiff, but it's possible to read anything into them.

His subject matter in The Killing of a Sacred Deer is something else, pushing way past whatever Kubrick or Bresson ever intended, exploring feelings of love, guilt, fear, rage, etc., and showing them as squirmy and unattractive. Essentially, his movies could be about the way we feel we must hide our feelings, and the fear that showing them could make people uneasy.

However, psychological and thematic readings into the movie are for later. Actually watching this movie is both spellbinding and supremely disturbing, although overall more satisfying than something like Darren Aronofsky's mother!.

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