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'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' TIFF 2017 Review: Artemis would approve

September 4, 2017Siobhán Finn

Fans of 2015’s The Lobster are sure to love writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest bizarre journey, The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Based loosely on the Greek tragedy of Iphigenia, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a deep dive into the themes of manipulation, karma and faith.

When surgeon Steven Murphy (a purposefully stilted Colin Farrell) befriends Martin (Dunkirk's Barry Keoghan, in an eerily sociopathic turn), the teenage son of a former patient, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that will change the lives of everyone he loves. This psychological thriller isn’t perfect: the music does the carefully-built tension a disservice and the third act drags, but in spite of its noticeable flaws, Deer is held together thanks to the strong performances of Farrell and Nicole Kidman (who plays Steven's wife, Anna).

Lanthimos clearly delights in the off-kilter, as he flips between the awkward and the absurd, keeping audiences on their toes and keeping them wondering. Although not a film for everyone, The Killing of a Sacred Deer will undoubtedly have viewers talking long after they've left the theater.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is receiving its North American premiere as part of TIFF 2017's Special Presentations programme. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 0 min.

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