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The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

by Michael  Cox
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday Jan 23, 2018
The Killing Of A Sacred Deer

Something more than the ominous music lets us know that all is not right in the spotless suburbia of "The Killing of a Sacred Deer." Director Yorgos Lanthimos builds a surreal world with stylized acting and socially uncomfortable behavior. Together he and his longtime co-writer Efthymis Filippou create a slow-burning suspense, somewhat reminiscent of David Lynch's "Blue Velvet."

The bizarre performances in this film are instantly disjointing. Imagine Siri and Alexa having a conversation. It's more than just an emotional disconnection between the characters; it's a highly stylized and non-naturalistic presentation, unusual in American films, and the result is both creepy and uncomfortably funny.

At first, the human interactions are rather normal, but they are punctuated by some socially unusual and even inappropriate behavior, like parents casually announcing that their daughter is menstruating and boys commanding adult men to expose their secondary sex characteristics.

At the center of all this strangeness is the relationship between the cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) and a fatherless teenage boy named Martin (Barry Keoghan). Steven tells his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) that Martin's father was killed in a car accident 10 years earlier, but the precise nature of this man and boy's friendship is unclear.

One thing is certain, though; Martin is luring Steven's family, seducing his daughter (Raffey Cassidy) and mesmerizing his son (Sunny Suljic). At the same time, the boy seems to be matchmaking, setting Steven up with his mother, and he becomes jealous when the busy surgeon doesn't spend time with him.

About halfway through the film, Martin's unexpected and menacing intentions are revealed, tearing apart the Murphy family's clean and comfortable world and forcing Steven to make a choice.

This is the second collaboration between Farrell and Lanthimos. Their earlier partnership was the dystrophic black comedy "The Lobster," a film of a different genre but a similar style. Both movies have met with critical success and multiple awards, particularly for their screenplays. The result is a parable that is part "Faust" part "Fatal Attraction."

Along with the movie, this Blu-ray disc includes the behind-the-scenes featurette, "An Impossible Conundrum." This substantial special feature sheds some light on the filmmakers' intentions without giving the audience any clear answers.

"The Killing of a Sacred Deer"

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