11 POINTS: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (2017) by MIKE KLEINE
Literally the most visceral & pure movie-watching experience so far this year. I haven't felt like this (after watching a film) in a very long time. & while I can't say that I particularly enjoyed The Lobster (nor did I care to finish it; and don't know that I ever will), I supremely enjoyed The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
Κυνοδοντασ (Dogtooth) too—this is in my top ten films of all-time. But the Killing of a Sacred Deer? This film is on a whole new level of everything—it's a different plane of reality!
I am a fan of Colin Farrell, this is no secret. I also really enjoy Nicole Kidman (& this too, is no secret). (Watch for them in The Beguiled for another, extra-special treat, by the wonderful Sofıa Coppola. Kirsten Dunst is also pretty mint in that movie). But Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman acting? These two, for me, for whatever reason, is something I can only describe as a forever treat.
If you like David Lynch and what David Lynch does, prepare to see a whole other side of the coin you never knew even existed. I dislike comparing auteurs but here, feel it is essential.
I have never seen acting that is so wooden & also so amazing.
The sound design is the best I've ever heard.
The characters are literally two-dimensional beings living in a three-dimensional world. Imagine the dog who catches the mail delivery truck. This film is just like that.
The film's thesis, maybe? What do you do with something you don't know what to do with? Or, how do you handle something you are not supposed to be able to handle? (Think about all that for a second).
From the very beginning, it's pretty easy to figure out what is happening. We've just been so conditioned to watch for the twist or, get ready for all the red herrings (thanks Sherlock) that it may at first seem a little hard to completely digest / comprehend what is literally taking place on the screen. But rest assured, it's not very hard to understand, what is happening. And in case you are not sure, it's pretty much explained 1/3 of the way thru. All you need to know is, there's this kid played by Barry Keoghan and he has something to tell Colin Farrell and his family. Something very important. (I know this sounds lame but it's not).
Watch for: the scenes at night (how they look & how they are lit), the way the camera follows the characters through corridors (like Stanley Kubrick reincarnated), the way the characters speak, the discussion at the very opening about wrist watches, how Barry Keoghan talks all throughout the film, Colin Farrell's outfits, the manner in which Nicole Kidman & Colin Farrell have sex (or is it foreplay???), the beautiful house they live in, the motorcycle sounds you keep hearing all throughout the film (and don't even realize, probably), Colin Farrell's facial hair, Nicole Kidman keeping her cool no matter what, the diner everyone keeps going back to (???) and the nondescript American town they all inhabit (where some houses are nicer than others).
The ending made my hands super sweaty. You will be hard-pressed to find another film that’s like this, out there, right now...
Mike Kleine is a writer and film critic.