Film Review: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a macabre tale which offers the requisite tension and horror. The film provides a quiet terror and a permanent sense of unease. 

Steven is a successful surgeon who lives a comfortable life with his family. This tranquility is shattered, however, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister…

Writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos and collaborator Efthymis Filippou have created a tale of terror that takes a while to unfold. The first third builds the characters and the sense of uneasiness. The reason for what occurs is revealed in such a matter of fact way that it enhances the surprise and the horror. 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is reminiscent of an Edgar Allan Poe story, albeit one rendered in a very contemporary fashion. Lanthimos’ skill here is the ramping of the tension, leading to some awful realisations. The director picks apart the perfect family facade with a sense of glee, merrily ripping through the seams. 

Martin is a most interesting antagonist. The way in which the characters react to him, and indeed the situation says something about the spectrum of human emotion. To a certain extent, Lanthimos makes family go through the stages of grief, with different characters exhibiting the different stages. The Killing of a Sacred Deer will not be a surprise to viewers of the director’s previous work, such as The Lobster. There is some dark humour sprinkled throughout, although the tone is deadpan. 

The score is slightly overbearing in the first third. It is clear what the filmmakers are aiming for, but result is that it can detract from the mood early on. The art direction offers a clinical appearance which fits the tone of the film. Colin Farrell is strong in understated role. Nicole Kidman also very good in subtle role. It is Barry Keoghan who stands out though, delivering a memorable performance. The actor has a promising career ahead. 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer engages throughout, even if viewers may wish for some relief. A horror story which lingers. 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017, and will be released in cinemas on 3rd November 2017.

BFI London Film Festival 2017 Launch

It’s that time of year again. Today saw the launch of the BFI London Film Festival 2017. The festival this year sees 242 feature films being screened, which includes 28 world premieres. Here are some picks to look out for at the London Film Festival 2017…

Headline Galas

The opening and closing galas previously announced; closing gala Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in particular looks great. Directed by Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths), the film stars Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson. Other Headline Gala highlights include Battle of the Sexes (starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell), Alexander Payne’s Downsizing, and Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. Another highlight is The Killing of a Sacred Deer, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster). The film stars Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Barry Keoghan, and is about a doctor who introduces his family to a fatherless young man he has befriended.

Strand Galas and Special Presentations

This year sees the return of the Embankment Garden Cinema and its series of Strand Galas.   There are a number of exciting screenings, including Redoubtable (Le Redoutable). Directed by Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) the film is a biopic of Jean-Luc Godard and stars Louis Garrel, Stacy Martin, and Bérénice Bejo. Also showing is Wonderstruck, based on the novel of the same name. Directed by Todd Haynes (Carol), the film stars Julianne Moore. Among the Special Presentations are Sally Potter’s The Party and the first two episodes of David Fincher’s upcoming Netflix series Mindhunter.

Official Competition

Amongst the Official Competition at London Film Festival 2017 are The Breadwinner (an animated film about a young girl in Taliban-controlled Kabul), and Thoroughbred, which stars Anya Taylor-Joy. The First Feature Competition includes Beast, which is about a young woman who falls for a police suspect. Also in this category is I Am Not A Witch, about a young girl in a Zambian village who is accused of being a witch. The Documentary Competition includes Jane, a film about primatologist Jane Goodall.

Strands

A highlight of this year’s Love strand is How to Talk to Girls at Parties, based on the Neil Gaiman short story. The film stars Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. The Debate strand features The Venerable W., a documentary about a Buddhist monk espousing anti-Muslim rhetoric. Laugh includes Brigsby Bear, a comedy about a man who tries to remake a children’s show he was obsessed with. A highlight of the Dare category is 9 Fingers, directed by FJ Ossang. The Thrill section includes the classic noir Mildred Pierce, whilst Harry Dean Stanton and David Lynch star in Lucky as part of the Journey strand.

The Cult strand includes Paco Plaza’s horror Veronica, and Create features documentary G Funk, about Snoop Dogg, Warren G and Nate Dogg. The Family strand includes fairy tale compendium Ivan Tsarevitch and the Changing Princess. Experimenta features documentary Tonsler Park, a timely film about polling stations in Charlottesville during last year’s US election.

The full London Film Festival 2017 programme can be viewed here. The BFI London Film Festival runs from 4th-15th October 2017.

Previews: The Killing of a Sacred Deer Trailer, More!

Plenty to see in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including The Killing of a Sacred Deer trailer, Goodbye Christopher Robin, and more…

The Killing of a Sacred Deer Trailer

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the latest film from Yorgos Lanthimos. Director Lanthimos follows The Lobster with this horror-thriller. The film stars Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, and Barry Keoghan. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is out in UK cinemas on 17th November 2017.

IT VR Experience

Adjust your headsets for this frightening journey into the world of IT. This VR experience gives a flavour of the film, which is based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel. It is pretty scary! Starring Bill Skarsgård, IT floats on to UK screens on 8th September 2017.

Goodbye Christopher Robin Poster

Here is the latest poster for the upcoming Goodbye Christopher Robin. The film is about the real life relationship between author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin, whose toys inspired the world of Winnie the Pooh. The film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, and Kelly Macdonald. Goodbye Christopher Robin is set for release on 29th September 2017.

Call Me By Your Name Trailer

Based on the novel of the same name, Call Me By Your Name is a drama from director Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash). The film is about an Italian-American teenager whose head is turned when a twenty-four year old intern comes to stay with his family for the summer. Starring Armie Hammer, Timothée Chamalet, and Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name hits UK screens on 27th October 2017.

The Death of Stalin Trailer

The Death of Stalin is the latest film from writer-director Armando Iannucci. The film is a dark comedy which takes place in the days after the collapse of Soviet leader Stalin. The film features an enviable cast that includes Steve Buscemi, Paddy Considine, and Andrea Riseborough. The Death of Stalin is out in UK cinemas on 20th October 2017.