Yorgos Lanthimos‘s The Killing of a Sacred Deer (A24, 11.17) “was lightly booed when it finished screening in Cannes this morning, and with ample justification. It’s a cold, odious and deeply repellent film. It’s the kind of thing that only Lanthimos fans could like, and even then it wouldn’t be easy. I wouldn’t wish this slog of a film upon my worst enemy.
“Deer begins with a certain robotic intrigue that slowly simmers and darkens. It’s basically about the lives of heart surgeon Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) and wife Ana (Nicole Kidman) along with their two kids, Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Suljic), being upended by Martin (Barry Keoghan), a teenager whose obsession with avenging his father’s death, which was caused by an operating-table error on Murphy’s part.
“The more Martin gets his hooks into Murphy the darker and weirder things get, but it’s something you have to force yourself to stay with in the final lap. I stuck it out, but I wouldn’t see The Killing of a Sacred Deer a second time with a knife at my back.
“To gauge the malevolence of this enterprise, look no further than the casting of the Irish-born Keoghan as Martin.
“Visually speaking Keoghan is an unpleasant guy to hang with. I’m sorry but it’s true. He exudes creepy by just walking into a room. He has evil wolf-like eyes and one of those ridiculous bee-stung noses, bulbous and swollen like something drawn by R. Crumb, the kind of Beagle Boy dog nose that used to scream “low rent” before common, coarse features became a kind of hip thing among 21st Century casting directors.