The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

R   |    |  Drama, Horror, Mystery

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) Poster

Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.


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5 February 2018 | CANpatbuck3664
| The Emperor Has No Clothes, This Movie is Extremely Ugly and Boring
This is one of those movies I have nothing nice to say about. The only thing I'll hand this movie is that I don't want to blame the actors/actresses. They've all shown that they have talent and I believe they were all instructed to act in such a robotic and monotone style. This obviously backfired as I couldn't attach myself to their characters because of it but I get the intention. My hope is that they all bounce back soon with other more worthwhile projects.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is filmed in a deliberately cold and sterile way. There are plenty of distant shots when characters are walking down hallways, all the dialogue is delivered without any kind of inflection and the final moments lack any kind of feeling. Again, this wasn't done by accident and I understand that it might just being going over my head. But the trade-off with this style is that it sucks any kind of emotional investment out of the movie. This bleeds over into the characters who are all jerks and terrible people. I wasn't rooting for anyone by the end of the movie. Steven is too arrogant to like; his children and his wife are content to stab each other in the back as long as it suits their best interest. Martin's plan is so ruthless that you can't root for him as the villain (this is also compounded by his complete lack of personality). This is an ugly movie about ugly people in an ugly situation. I get that's the point but if that's the case, why should I enjoy this movie?

The next thing is that this movie has very little plot to speak of. There is the mystery of how Martin is doing this (there is no resolution about that) but otherwise, the only other question posed is answered at the halfway point. There isn't anything else! If you're going to strip any emotional resonance from the movie or refuse to give me anyone to root for, I need an intriguing plot to hold my interest. Sadly, this was just one more thing the movie lacks.

What this movie relies on is the dialogue and that aspect doesn't pick up the slack. Sure, there are some minor exchanges that are interesting but there isn't any deeper meaning revealed through these characters interacting with one another. It often gets repetitive (there are at least a couple of scenes where Steven and Anna lecture the kids about not doing their chores) or downright bizarre (Steven's story of childhood masturbation was icky). It just failed to hold my attention (again the fact its delivered so coldly didn't' help) and it was just something else that was disappointing.

This movie joins A Ghost Story and Mother! In a category of 2017 films that critics adored and I ended up hating. I will say that like those movies, there was a clear vision of what they wanted, and they achieved it. Yorgos Lanthimos had something specific in mind and was more concerned about bringing his vision to life than whether the audience would get it. As much as defenders of this movie would say "well you're not the target audience", I'm open to trying new and different types of movies and I don't need to make concessions to an awful movie because they didn't make it with me in mind. I was repulsed by this movie for much of the running time. My hopes that it would get better when we got further into the plot were deflated like a balloon running out of air. Unless you're a fan of Yorgos Lanthimos' previous work (I haven't seen The Lobster, maybe its good?) or you're dying to see something off-kilter and deliberately hard to understand, do not see this movie.

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