The Killing of a Sacred Deer


This first American movie by the absurdist Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos Discuss this article

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Welcome to the deep freeze. This first American movie by the absurdist Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) sees him throw the full weight of classical tragedy at a suburban family. Colin Farrell is Steven, a successful surgeon who once made a fatal mistake on the operating table that comes back to haunt him, his wife (Nicole Kidman) and their kids in terrible, bloody fashion.

If that sounds like a simple revenge story, there’s nothing simple about the way Lanthimos sneakily peels back the layers of this horror-inflected tale, with the gliding precision of Kubrick. He uncovers information slowly, for a long time we’re wondering: who is that young man (Barry Keoghan, deeply creepy), who Steven regularly meets and who talks of “that critical moment we both knew would come”. If Steven doesn’t take responsibility for his actions – in the most horrific way – his whole family will go under.

Lanthimos’ story is inspired by the ancient Greek legend of King Agamemnon, who accidentally killed a sacred deer and was ordered to sacrifice his daughter as punishment. The dominant mood here is dread, and violence is inevitable. As storytelling, it’s pristine. But its cruelty is tough to bear.

By Dave Calhoun
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

  • Duration: 121
  • Released: Thu, 23 Nov
  • Language: English
  • Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
  • Stars: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Alicia Silverstone

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