The Killing of a Sacred Deer Review

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The Killing of a Sacred Deer sounds like a pretty bad thing.

That’s because it is… unless you’re some sort of 5th generation inbred mental posho who enjoys hunting sentient beings since it became ‘illegal’ to shoot proles in the street.

Hopefully, you’re not.

Steven Murphy is a heart surgeon with a fondness for watches. 

And watch straps.

The brown leather kind.

He’s not so fond of losing patients on the operating table, but these things will happen.

Especially if you’re a heart surgeon.

They tend to happen a little more often when said surgeon starts drinking in the middle of the day but, like so many other things in this life, that’s only illegal if you get caught.

Anyway, it turns out that a recent patient of Murphy’s lost his life while the good doctor got his buzz on and – wracked with guilt – our surgical hero has been meeting his former patient’s teenage son who Murphy has managed to turn into a bastard.

Turns out Murphy needn’t have bothered, as Martin was already a bit of a bastard, and losing his pa sure hasn’t helped matters.

Before long, Doctor Murphy finds himself being blackmailed into doing things he really shouldn’t.

But coming round for dinner with Martin’s recently widowed mother is small fry compared to what lies ahead.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the latest left-field, black comedy from Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos, coming hot on the heels of his recent mainstream success with The Lobster.

Sticking with Colin Farrell as his male muse, there’s a continuation here of The Lobster’s pitch black style and deadpan delivery – only things have got a whole lot darker.

The problem is it’s hard to get too involved with the film, as the premise is too ludicrous to believe – and that goes double for Barry Keoghan’s teenage antagonist who appears to be omnipotent.

When a barely grown up child is able to exhibit superior medical knowledge than that of a fully fledged heart surgeon, something’s gone awry in the scriptwriting process.

Which is a shame, as I love The Lobster’s off beat sense of humour and style, and would have loved another serving of something as similarly well conceived as this.

Alas, The Killing of a Sacred Deer never manages to grab you in the same way, precisely because its premise is too preposterous to believe. 

And fans of Lanthimos’ work will know that’s no easy feat.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

November 2017