The Killing of a Sacred Deer: A modern telling of Iphigenia myth
Colin Farrell gets to show off his arm-pit hair in the latest film, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, from Yorgas Lanthimos and his co-writer Efthymus Filippou. Before delving further, it's worth reminding the casual cinephile that the previous film from this collaboration was 2015's The Lobster. Depending on your view of that film, proceed with caution.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer stars Colin Farrell as Steven, a charismatic surgeon, who is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his family life (his wife is played by Nicole Kidman) starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy (Barry Keoghan) he has taken under his wing turns sinister. That's the plot. Does it make sense to any rational viewer? No. Is it meant to? I'm not sure.
Yorgas Lanthimos and his co-writer Efthymus Filippou have produced a modern day version of the myth of Iphigenia with Colin Farrell as a twenty-first century Agamemnon.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the second big screen pairing of Kidman and Farrell in 2017, The Beguiled being the other. I know which one I prefer. The passion that both Kidman and Farrell brought to their roles in the latter is missing in the former. For their latest endeavour, their performances are restrained, stilted even. Farrell's dialogue is slightly unnatural being over-polite and avoiding the use of contractions. TO say both actors are wooden is being unkind to Kidman.
Barry Keoghan is the stand-out performance here as the sinister Martin whose father died on the operating table while under the care of Colin Farrell. So in some sense this is a revenge film but the revenge is fantastical.
3 out of 5. Proceed with caution. Not for everyone!