• Name: The Killing of a Sacred Deer
• Year: 2015
• Country: UK, Ireland, USA
• Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
• Main cast: Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Colin Farrell
• Runtime: 121 minutes
• Production company: Element Pictures, A24, Film4
At this point, everybody who goes to the cinema to watch a movie from Yorgos Lanthimos should already know what kind of cinema he’s venturing into, and that it is no conventional movie what he’s about to see. The director, who got known for his Greek original work Dogtooth (2009), and in 2015 presented Lobster (with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz), dividing the critics, stakes again for a very risky proposal.
I believe his mastery and technique are indisputable: conscious of what he’s doing, he works with our discomfort and the advantage of creating always a universe of his own. If with those premises you manage to get into the movie, congratulations, you’ll enjoy it. The problem comes when you don’t accept his rules, or you simply don’t connect with that universe.
Always in a particular and original way, a bit too slowly for my taste, he drives us into a dark story about family relationships and vengeance. In spite of having remarkable performances (a Nicole Kidman surprisingly similar to the one in Eyes Wide Shut (1999), a captivating young cast composed by a magnetic Barry Keoghan and an innocent Raffey Cassidy) the movie feels too pretentious and relies a bit too much in the acting, leaving aside the storyline development, and becoming fatiguing. Although it may be part of his way of getting us closer to the protagonist feelings, it doesn’t help on the general accomplishment of the film. Also, what in Dogtooth (2009) was solved with incredible originality, here is explained by means of magic, or simply drawing a different world, with its own rules, as he previously did in Lobster (2015). This choice produces in result, from my point of view, a weakening of his otherwise superb satires on the human condition. It empties an otherwise powerful departure and blurs somehow its goal.
Still, it’s a Yorgos Lanthimos film we’re talking about, so a big amount of food for thought on humans and our way of relating to others, about family, rules and social conventions is served and ready to be put under questioning by one of the great apocalyptic directors of our time, as he’s sometimes called. I would, by all means, recommend to go and watch it and extract your own conclusions afterward. Certainly interesting, but not essential in my opinion, another movie to add to the Greek director’s filmography, which hopefully still has a lot to grow and holds many good surprises to come.
IMDB URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5715874