It seems the pattern of disturbingly good films by Yorgos Lanthimos continues to increase in range. For those familiar with his films of Dogtooth and The Lobster, Lanthimos’s latest film The Killing of A Sacred Deer, also explores a dark concept but with a twisted sense of humor. Once again, these two genres are balanced effortlessly throughout and the finished product is yet another reminder of the masterclass from the director.
Colin Farrell stars again in the lead role (clearly the directors favorite) and is unfortunately placed into another caliginous scenario that sees him tested in different strengths. Without giving the films main trick, Farrell plays a father of two with a loving wife and is put to make an extremely difficult decision that will end up affecting the family dynamic forever. No, it’s not deciding where to eat for dinner and to answer to that is always McDonald’s.
Aside from watching the situation unfold as Farrell battles to resolve his dilemma, the entire universe Lanthimos creates its intriguing to watch. From the very moment the film begins, you get the sense of unnatural behavior just by the dialogue between two characters and this sense never leaves the screen. It’s an almost like an entirely different world of humans but they’re just not very human-like. At least to what our society is used to. Great examples of this are the astute observations and over politeness each character exuberates. It’s just unnatural and it’s purposefully executed as a subtle commentary on society. But moreover, it’s all awkwardly hilarious.
This is why I love Lanthimos’s films. Not only are they simply exploring a compelling dark concept but they’re quite funny at the same time. Most of these jokes come from being in such unique situations that other films can’t make because they’re simply not in the same position. Numerous times a character would say something in such an unusual but nonchalant way that it becomes hilarious to watch. And when it came moments of humor that were of the darker taste, these were executed flawlessly and without overstepping boundaries. Indeed, the killing of a sacred deer is a fine piece for showing that the art of black comedy in 2017 is alive and well.
My only gripe with the film is that it is a bit of a slow burn and it can feel particularly lackadaisical at times. Especially within the middle third, where you’ve been introduced to the setup and are simply waiting for it to hurry to the climax. Part of this feels like it could have been edited or reworked to have more going on to keep interest like in the lobster. But again, this is a minor complaint. The film is acted perfectly with veteran actors of Farrell and Nicole Kidman as his wife as particular standouts. Though the cinematography isn’t of anything scenic or picturesque, it does well to capture the darkness and unnatural tone of characters that the film clearly aims towards.
For lovers of the lobster and for black comedy films with unique and interesting concepts, the killing of a sacred deer is a fantastic film to watch and one sure to be on top ten lists for this year.