Yorgos Lanthimos’s arty horror meta-whatsit is unsettling and hilarious in equal measure, blending the bizarre strengths of Dogtooth and The Lobster to create something totally unique and utterly compelling.
There’s more than a mutual love of pie and coke that’s compelling the two to meet so often. Martin displays a desperate addiction to Stephen, almost as a stalker hunting his prey: it turns out that Dr Murphy has been a bad man - a very bad man indeed – and bad men must pay the price for their wrongs. What follows is an elliptical maze of misdirection, psychological breakdown, and murder as an ancient curse appears to have been placed on the doctors family – causing his children to become mysteriously sicker every day.
Those who have not seen The Lobster or Dogtooth will be unacustomed by the way in which the director requires his cast to speak in a robotic monotone – as if they don’t understand the words that’re coming out of their mouths. This, in turn, makes even the most sinister or banal lines take on an unnatural, comic edge. Combined with the artificial sheen of the production, most scenes of horriffic torture or violence (be it emotional or physical) elicited a laugh from the audience rather than a gasp of shock. I wonder whether the tale would have been aided by a more affecting, disturbing atmosphere – but the comedy certainly works.
It’s a rough message to take, and a rough film to endure whilst taking it, but at the end of the day it’s worth it. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is, without a doubt, a Yorgos Lanthimos film. Daring, distressing, and very weird indeed, it’s a singular experience for adventurous viewers, and not one that you’re likely to forget in a while.
|The Killing of a Sacred Deer gets 4 stars!|