Full Review: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (UK/Ireland 2017) ****

Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.

Director:

Yorgos Lanthimos

 

Greek director (DOGTOOTH and THE LOBSTER) Yourgos Lanthimos’ latest feature is a supernatural psychological thriller that is the most difficult to watch despite its bouts of black humour.  The reason the film is titled THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER becomes apparent at the film’s end and exposing the reason would spoilt the film’s key plot point.

The film follows Dr. Steven Murphy (Farrell), a cardiac surgeon who is first seen at a diner meeting with a 16-year-old named Martin (Barry Keoghan).  The doctor buys the boy an expensive watch as a present.  The relationship between the two is revealed as the film goes on.  Steven introduces Martin to his wife (Nicole Kidman) and two children.  Martin, determined to ingratiate himself into this unfamiliar new family, becomes something like an adopted son.  Strange things begin to happen with the children developing paralysis right out of the blue.  Dr. Murphy and his team of surgeons are unable to put a medical explanation for the illnesses.

Secrets start coming out of the closet.  Director Lanthimos unveils bits at a time, thus keeping the audience in anticipation.  Revealing more of the plot in this review will definitely spoil ones enjoyment of the film, and thus no more of the story will be revealed.

It is safe to say that the film gets more and more serious and ends up becoming quite a disturbing watch.  Lanthimos does not skimp on the violence and language.  The film has a lot of anger and the anger is slowly but surely unleashed by every one in the part concerned.

The humour often comes in the form of inconsequential dialogue, often spoken by the main character, Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell).  Hunour is also provided in the way drain information, is relayed to the audience.  For example, Steven tells his colleague out of the blue for no reason, that his daughter has begun her menstruation.

The sex scene between husband and wife is as expected a strange one, but sufficiently erotic.  Kidman has an almost perfect body.  Farrell, Kidman and Keoghan all deliver chilling performances.

The film demands the audience sit back and immerse themselves in the environment of horror.  The film is clear a horror film with scary results that resulted in quite a few of the audience at the screening walking out.

The film uses quite a bit of choral music wit a scene of a scene of the daughter singing in the choir.  Sound is also used effectively as when Steven takes off his wife’s panties, like the snapping sound of him taking off his surgical gloves.

The film contains some very scary scenes.  These include the ones with the son and daughter both paralyzed from the waste down, dragging their bodies around the house, up and down the stairs using their arms.  There is also an almost unwatchable scene of Russian Roulette

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER is a well executed psychological and emotional horror film.  Not for everyone!

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOxiMR6aL74

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TIFF 2017 Movie Review: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (UK/Ireland 2017) ***1/2

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2017. Go to TIFF 2017 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer Poster
Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.

Director:

Yorgos Lanthimos

Stars:

Nicole KidmanAlicia SilverstoneColin Farrell
 

Greek director (DOGTOOTH and THE LOBSTER) Yourgos Lanthimos’s latest feature is a supernatural psychological thriller that is the most difficult to watch despite its bouts of black humour.

The film follows Dr. Steven Murphy (Farrell), a cardiac surgeon who is first seen at a diner meeting with a 16-year-old named Martin (Barry Keoghan).

The doctor buys the boy an expensive watch as a present. The relationship between the two is revealed as the film goes on. Steven introduces Martin to his wife (Nicole Kidman) and two children. Martin, determined to ingratiate himself into this unfamiliar new family, becomes something like an adopted son. Strange things begin to happen with the children developing paralysis right out of the blue.

Secrets start coming out of the closet. Director Lanthimos unveils bits at a time, thus keeping the audience in anticipation. It is safe to say that the film gets more and more serious and ends up becoming quite a disturbing watch. Lanthimos does not skimp on the violence and language.

The film has a lot of anger and the anger is slowly but surely unleashed by every one in the party concerned. THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER is a well executed psychological and emotional horror film but not for everyone!

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQFdGfwChtw

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER

 

Movie Review: CHEVALIER (Greece 2015) ***

chevalier.jpgCHEVALIER (Greece 2015) ***
Directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari

Starring: Efthymis Filippou, Athina Rachel Tsangari

Review by Gilbert Seah

Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari broke into the art-house cinema circuit in 2010 with her feminine study in ATTENBERG. Like ATTENBERG, CHEVALIER is a deadpan comedy of manners, so deadpan that much of the humour may be missed. However, the females in her previous films are now replaced by six males – all stuck on a yacht in the Aegean Sea, playing an absurd game in which the winner gets to wear the CHEVALIER ring as a reward. What the game requires is each member to grade every other on personal mental and physical challenges, that are determined by the grader himself. So, hilariously, each go about with a notebook taking notes on every other. The winner is the ‘Best in General’.

CHEVALIER has a good premise judging from the popularity of reality shows like BIG BROTHER these days. The difference is that CHEVALIER is a fictionalized reality show but one in which the director allows her assemble cast to react with each other. The fact that all the participants are constantly being scrutinized on what they don’t know makes it all the more hilarious. The difference between this and Big Brother is that no one gets voted out, they cannot form alliances and the prize is one of ego.

Tsangari’s last two features were about women. Her decision to make a film on men instead of women as well as to include a gay couple makes her film even more relevant. The chevalier game is proposed by the men out of boredom. One immediately wonders what would come to mind if the participants were female. Men have been known always to be competitive and the film shows males in their extreme. When watching the film, it should be borne in mind that the film is a look at men from a feminine perspective.

The Aegean sea and the rocky landscape of the surrounding islands make stunning cinematography. The modern yacht with all the amenities is also gorgeous to be on.

Tsangari’s ATTENBERG was really slow, artsy and about women. I could not get into that feature and was not looking forward to CHEVALIER. CHEVALIER took me my surprise. Absurd, hilarious, relevant and absorbing, Tsangari has proven herself apt at films dealing with the nature of human beings.

A contest among males would inevitably lead to a segment with a contest of cock size. This truth occurs in one funny segment ins which a contender argues that his non-erection that morning could be a result of a bad dream in which his accuser was murdered, and that accuser could have vouched for his big dick in another instance when he had screwed someone in front of him.

All the characters are equally interesting. It takes a while for the audience to be able to identify each character as being different from another. As far as who will win the contest or which character is the most interesting, viewers will likely not pick the same person. The film does not give any real reason for the six assembling in the yacht except for a few like one older bullying brother, Yannis (Yorgos Pirpassopoulos) allowing his younger brother Dimitris (Makis Papadimitriou) out of feeling sorry for him.

Like the other Greek film auteur Yorgos Lanthimos’ THE LOBSTER, Tsangari offers audiences another society within our living one. Perhaps this is a reflection of what is desired as a result of what’s happening with the Greeks current economic crisis. CHEVALIER won Best Film at the London Film Festival.