As storytelling, it’s pristine: it moves like a reptile playing the long game. But its cruelty is tough to bear.
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Fortunately, the filmmaker’s rare gift for brutal absurdity remains intact, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer only gets funnier as it grows darker.
The rich vein of unsettling darkness and psychological unease that ripples like a treacherous underground stream beneath the absurdist humor of Yorgos Lanthimos' work becomes a brooding requiem of domestic horror in his masterfully realized fifth feature.
To see an unfettered nightmare like this from such an idiosyncratic director feels like a cruel treat, and a welcome stylistic stretch.
Even the most generous of viewers couldn’t come up with a legitimate reason for the vileness on show here, other than pure and simple sadism.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is Lanthimos with the gloves off, and it makes the absurd, amazing “The Lobster” seem like a warm and cuddly experience by comparison.
In Farrell and Kidman, he has found two performers who are utterly willing to go the whole hog and their performances are brilliant deadpans.
This is a ruthlessly controlled drama that achieves its powerful effect by holding back when its dramatic content is most intense.
It’s an intriguing, disturbing, amusing twist on something which in many ways could be a conventional horror-thriller from the 1970s or 1980s, or even a bunny-boiler nightmare from the 90s.
When absurdism feels this wrong, you know it’s being done right.