A24 have been on top of their game recently, with the likes of Moonlight, A Ghost Story, and more. And their latest, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, screened at London Film Fest. Here's my review.

The film opens on a close-up of a beating heart, it's exposed and being operated on. Our surgeon in question is Steven (Colin Farrell); we're quick to learn that has a beautiful wife (Nicole Kidman), two great children Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Suljic) and a pretty lovely home. It's safe to say, things are going pretty well for them. However, when the behaviour of one of Steven's ex-patients, a teenage boy Martin (Barry Keoghan), starts to affect his family in bizarre ways, it begins to lead Steven on a dark, psychological path of pain and misery that results in him having to make an unthinkable sacrifice to get his life back to how it used to be. It's a pretty fascinating story but given that this is a Yorgos Lanthimos screenplay - co-written by his usual co-writer, Efthymis Filippou - there is more to this story than meets the eye. But, again, in true Lanthimos fashion, this is a story that - naturally - is as weird and absurd as they come. And it makes for some truly entertaining viewing; The Killing of a Sacred Deer is one darkly twisted, yet brilliant, watch.
Similarly to his last efforts (the highly original The Lobster, for the uninitiated), Lanthimos' trademark stilted, monotonous - almost robotic - and surrealist dialogue makes a return here and it's used as brilliantly as ever; it's just so strange at times that it makes for such great comedic moments. This entire film itself is often quite funny, but quite darkly so - to the extent where you're laughing at moments that you feel bad for chuckling at. If there's one thing Yorgos is a master at, it's juggling various tones with such effortless craft and the balance here is sublime, blending dark humour with serious drama to such great effect. This is a film as unpredictable as its always-shifting tone - from dark to darkly funny to even wryly endearing at times - and one that is constantly flowing in new, exciting and wholly unexpected directions. The Killing of a Sacred Deer brings originality to the table in abundance; just like its predecessing endeavour, it is deftly unique and different and genuinely unlike you will have seen before. This is, in part, thanks to such a refreshing screenplay from Lanthimos and Filippou but also just the former's command of tone and his ability to constantly subvert expectations and throw his audience with such innovative storytelling and direction.

The performances are all tremendous. Nicole Kidman is a seductive delight, radiating such charm yet such dark undertones too. Barry Keoghan, who impressed in Dunkirk earlier this Summer, is a revelation; he is chilling as Martin, his presence is genuinely quite unnerving, and the character itself is pure evil and absolutely horrid - in the best way. Alicia Silverstone, Raffey Cassidy, and Sunny Suljic all turn in such commendable work too; their dry delivery of Lanthimos' absurd writing is superb and hilarious but equally as believable! Of course, Colin Farrell is terrific as Steven. There is no actor out there that can give off such a purposefully wooden and stilted performance the way Farrell can, and it's what made him great in The Lobster and it's what makes him shine here too. Yorgos Lanthimos has, once again, created something that will be divisive; he is proving to be quite the marmite director. But for those that like his work, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is something else. It's terribly dark and disturbing; it's not a flat-out horror film but its psychological beats will really wrap themselves around you. It's chilling stuff. The story perhaps feels a little rushed towards the finale and the ending is underwhelming but given that the journey is so unpredictable, ingenious and so hugely entertaining, it doesn't hinder the fact that The Killing of a Sacred Deer is so deliciously brilliant and unsettling. There is no one quite as able to create such a twisted, absurd cinematic world and immerse you in it quite the way Yorgos Lanthimos can but it makes for such an absolute treat and such an unusual, twisted, yet riveting watch.


The Killing of a Sacred Deer is deliciously dark and ingenious and makes for one of the most absurd, yet most engrossing films you'll see all year.

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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