The Killing of a Sacred Deer is Yórgos Lánthimos’ latest film, for which he was awarded Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. Colin Farrell portrays the character of Steven, a surgeon who decides to let Martin, a disturbed teenager, into his life and meet his family. It is only too late when he realises the mistake he made would turn out to be fatal. The teenager is played by Barry Keoghan, who was last seen in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.
As the story unfolds, the growing danger becomes more and more visual, and what you see makes you wonder whether it is meant to be ridicule, provoking, shocking, or maybe the three.
Certain scenes can be deemed graphic because of the violence they contain. However, if you take a closer look, you realise that violence is more in some of the characters’ minds and their intentions, rather than in its physical expression. The atmosphere of the story has a certain balladry to it. And despite the violence, it somehow makes sense if you let the story be. This film has an unusual vibe to it, and the spectator might feel unsure about whether he should be laughing or not, whether it is intended to be metaphorical or taken simply as it is shown, which is quite unsettling.
A perhaps less visible aspect of this film is that it addresses the matter of responsibility in the medical field, more specifically surgeons, and the possible consequences when things don’t go as expected.