• Killing Of A Sacred Deer, The

    Released by: Lionsgate Entertainment
    Released on: January 23rd, 2018.
    Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
    Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Alicia Silverstone, Sunny Suljic, Raffey Cassidy
    Year: 2017
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    The Movie:

    Written and directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, director of Dogtooth and The Lobster, 2017’s The Killing Of A Sacred Deer tells the story of Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell). He lives a very comfortable life as a cardiovascular surgeon. He’s quite successful at work, and very well regarded by his peers. He’s married to his beautiful wife Anna (Nicole Kidman), who has her own successful career as an ophthalmologist. Together they have two children, a twelve-year-old boy named Bob (Sunny Suljic) and a fourteen-year-old daughter named Kim (Raffey Cassidy).

    While the Murphy’s, on the surface at least, appear to live a perfect existence in their beautiful suburban home, there comes a problem in the form of a teenaged boy named Martin (Barry Keoghan). Aware that he has no father, Steven becomes a bit of a surrogate parent to him, and as he does, Martin starts to dig in his claws and make himself part of the family. This occurs while Martin’s mother (Alicia Silverstone) takes a noticeable liking to her son’s new male role model. As this unusual behavior intensifies, it becomes more unsettling – but there’s a reason for it, and before it’s all over Martin will confront Steven with what he believes to be the truth and what he wants Steven to do to set things right.

    This one hits and it hits hard. Some strange musical choices almost allude to the relationship that exists between Steven and Martin being of the illicit variety, but that’s not really where the film goes. While trying to avoid spoilers (and you really do want to see this without having the main story points spoiled for you), let it suffice to say that their relationship is hardly a healthy one, but it’s not in the way you’d expect. It’s fairly impossible to discuss the plot in any more detail without ruining it for those who haven’t seen the movie, so we’ll leave it at that – but Lanthimos really does an amazing job of setting things up in the first half of the film so that he can really punch us in the proverbial gut before it’s all over and done with.

    The performances here are quite strong. Farrell, who previously worked with the director on The Lobster, is well cast. He plays his part well. Steven is a man who has it all, at least it seems that way – and he pulls off ‘smart, handsome guy’ well enough that we have no trouble at all accepting him in the part. He and Kidman have good chemistry here, even in a bedroom scene that’s sure to take some viewers by surprise given the direction it takes. Sunny Suljic and Raffey Cassidy are both very good as the kids, Suljic in particular really shines in an intense scene that he shares with his father that revolves around the older Murphy’s idea that maybe his son isn’t being 100% honest with him. Again, this scene, like so many others in the picture, is certainly designed to provoke and to put viewers on edge. The cast all commit. Barry Keoghan as the impetus for all of this also does very strong work, particularly in the second half of the film where it becomes more than clear who is holding all the cards here. Koeghan’s work here is genuinely chilling, his Martin is one of the more unique and terrifying characters to hit the screen in some time and the young actor really shines in the part.


    The Killing Of A Sacred Deer arrives on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks excellent. Shot on film, the image is as pristine as you’d expect it to be while fine detail is consistently impressive, a nice amount of natural film grain present in every frame but never overpowering. The colors are sometimes flat and drab, but this suits the tone of the storyline well though, with nice inky blacks and plenty of muted earth tones and grays used throughout. Outdoor scenes tend to show brighter, bolder colors and here too the transfer shines. Skin tones look great, nice and accurate, and there’s never any waxiness or smearing. Contrast is solid and aside from a little bit of shimmering here and there, the image is a very strong one.

    The only audio option provided is a DTS-HD 5.1 track in English with removable subtitles offered up in English, English SDH and Spanish. The audio is clean, clear and quite detailed. Sound design is more often rather subtle here, it’s not particularly bombastic but it suits the tone of the story nicely. Levels are nicely balanced and there are no problems at all with any hiss or distortion.

    The only extra of any interest on the disc is a twenty-two-minute-long featurette entitled An Impossible Conundrum that is essentially a selection of cast and crew interviews. Most of the principals are covered here and it’s marginally interesting but you can’t help but wish that it hadn’t gone more in-depth.

    The Final Word:

    The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is not an easy watch. It’s dark, grim stuff. But so too is it very well made. The performances are excellent and the story both tense and quite moving. Lionsgate’s Blu-ray release is light on extra but it does look and sound very good. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!