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The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Yorgos Lanthimos

Yorgos Lathimos’ unique brand of unsettling but often subtly humorous filmmaking broke through to a wider audience with his surprise hit, The Lobster. Reuniting with the star of that film, Colin Farrell, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a much darker prospect and all the better for it. An acting masterclass, the film features another fantastic ego-free turn by Farrell alongside Nicole Kidman in one of the best performances of her career, as well as a knock-it-out-of-the-park moment for Irish actor Barry Keoghan.

"...pure, compulsive viewing."

The Killing of a Sacred Deer could be described as a thriller, horror or melodrama, but whatever genre you want to place it in, it is pure, compulsive viewing. Successful heart surgeon Steven (Farrell), his opthamologist wife Anna (Kidman) and their two children Bob and Kim seem to be the perfect family. But Steven has a secret and spends much of his time with troubled teen Martin (Keoghan, a perfect blend of menace and vulnerability), of whom he is very protective. Their relationship is not explained initially but when Martin begins to threaten Steven’s family with a very unusual method of revenge, all becomes clear. Martin’s relentless vendetta means that Steven must make an awful choice which will impact his entire family’s future. The plot doesn’t just thicken; it starts to boil furiously.

Elegant and stylish and beautifully shot by cinematographer Thimios Bakatakis, The Killing of a Sacred Deer might initially seem to be all cool surfaces and opaque characters, but the complex story will draw you in, grab you by the throat, and not let go until the final frame. A lot of that is down to young Keoghan, last seen in Dunkirk (those who follow Irish television will also recognise him from Love/Hate), who is unforgettable and definitely a star in the making.

From Dogtooth to The Lobster, we take a look back at Yorgos Lanthimos' unique brand of unsettling filmmaking - read our list here.