Dr. Steven Murphy, played by Colin Farrell, is a surgeon in a nameless U.S. city. He’s got, at least it seems, a picture perfect life. He’s married to the beautiful Anna (Nicole Kidman), who plays dead to satisfy his sexual desires, and two amazing children – teenage Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and younger son Bob (Sunny Suljic). But one day a young man by the name of Martin (played to perfection by Barry Keoghan) starts showing up at Steven’s hospital. Martin takes an interest in his work, but then starts showing up even when Steven isn’t there. One day Steven invites Martin over to his home for dinner, where Kim is immediately smitten with him and Bob wants to be his best friend. Barry is that easy to get along with, very friendly, wouldn’t hurt a fly, or so it seems. But Barry has other intentions, not good ones, that will grossly effect Steven’s family. It turns out that Barry’s father died on the operating table at the hands of Dr. Murphy, so he wants to get revenge. He does something to Kim and Bob to make them deathly sick (frustratingly it’s not clear exactly what he does to them), but Bob and Kim wind up in the same room at Steven’s hospital, and test after test after test doesn’t reveal the true cause of their illness. Dr. Murphy starts getting desperate and kidnaps Barry to try to get him to confess to what he did, but it might be too late as Steven’s perfect family and his good reputation as an excellent doctor could all come crashing down, not to mention he could potentially lose his children.
’The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ is all very dark and disturbing and moves at a snails pace along with the tension and drama, all to amazing dramatic effect. Directed by Yorges Lanthimos, who brought us the dark ’The Lobster,’ is able to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat as the tension keeps getting ramped up higher and higher. Farrell is at the top of his game here as the tormented father who can only stand back and watch his two children slowly get sicker and sicker. Kidman is good as the mother who is helpless, but Keoghan tops them both as a sinister kid with only one thing on his mind – revenge. ’The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ is a must see.
Review by Tim Baros
Photo from BFI/London Film Festival