Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

I saw The Lobster (also directed by Lanthimos) last year: it had me and a couple of mates laughing so hard we were on the edges of our seats, although it also had elements of horror. Single people had to find a partner within a short space of time or be turned into an animal of their choosing. Those who escaped did not fare so well either, as the group living nearby did not permit relationships.

There was little to laugh at in The Killing of a Sacred Deer, although it had its absurdist element. I've seen it described as a stalker movie but it isn't really. It takes a wee while for the story to emerge. Colin Farrell plays Stephen Murphy, a cardiac surgeon. He has this young hanger on, Martin, who he seems to be encouraging to follow in his footsteps but gives inexplicable gifts to - at first, I thought maybe they were in a sexual relationship. Martin's father went under the knife, wielded by Stephen, a few years earlier but did not survive and Martin blames him for it. He's lost a family member and gives Stephen an ultimatum: kill one of yours or they will all die - in stages. It is the only thing he can think of that is close to justice.

Stephen doesn't really take him seriously, even when his son loses the ability to walk and the desire to eat - the first two of the four threatened stages. He tries every medical test there is and gets experts in, to no avail - all that happens is that his daughter suffers the same fate. There is no hint as to how these conditions arise - somehow Martin causes them. By now Stephen and Anna (a fairly chilly Nicole Kidman) accept this, and go after Martin but nothing seems to stop him - I kept thinking that Anna was about to stop walking as well.

So - this leaves Stephen with an unpleasant choice: sacrifice one of the family to save the rest. How to choose?
I'm not sure why all of the characters speak the way they do - not much emotion, kind of robotic with an element of persistence to what they're saying - particularly Martin. 



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