The Killing of a Sacred Deer ★★★½

At its core, 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' is a wonderful film study in a lot of ways. Obviously, it shares untold amounts of connective tissue with 'The Lobster', but while it inches ever-closer towards TOO much connective tissue, it never exhausted me. 'TKoaSD' elevates the story it tells with some wonderful tone-setting and world-building.

As always, I could take advantage of the opportunity to hype Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman's performances, but I think we're all well aware of this pair's level of output. Instead, I'd love to comment on the talent oozing out of Barry Keoghan. This boy was enthralling. Martin (Keoghan's character) was sinister to an inhuman level, but it was the emotionless portrayal of his mischief that made this lifeless character so compelling. He was quirky, unpredictable, and unstoppable. Keoghan put on a clinic in this film, and I adored everything that he brought to the screen.

The film-minimalism on display here is an integral part of the story being told. The deadpan dialogue and blocky movements by the characters is one thing, but the starkness of each setting is just as much of a character as the characters themselves. Many of these techniques are part of A24's common denominator, which is partly why this film fits so well in their arsenal.

I don't have much to offer in the message of this film, in fact I think the message may have been lost on me. I know there are many themes here that are adjacent to Greek mythology, but given how little I know about Greek mythology, the message here basically surmounts to an elaborate game of ‘would you rather’. I'm not sure. Even so, this movie is objectively entertaining as a mental thriller with a booming third act, themes aside.

I'll recommend this movie to a lot of people who are entertained by A24's body of work. This is a worthy installation, directed by a talented individual, and including some wonderful performances by gifted actors. Cinephiles delight, 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' is something to be experienced before it gets too stale.