Starting off this review with a disclaimer: On the whole, I have not liked Yorgos Lanthimos’ previous films. I have seen both Dogtooth as well as The Lobster (or most of it anyway). Dogtooth I found at least somewhat intriguing and I did get through the whole film, and I really felt it had potential, however, The Lobster was the most pretentious drivel I have ever tried to watch in my entire lifetime, and I tried to sit through Chevalier at the Film Festival last year (more pretentious Greek drivel, albeit directed by someone else). So anyway, I was pretty well-equipped to turn the film off halfway through because I was fed up. I was fully and 100% prepared.
The slow-as-molasses pacing is very familiar. I got very distinct Nocturnal Animals, It Comes At Night (review coming, I promise), and of course, The Lobster vibes from it. Now, two out of three of those movies, I greatly disliked. There were differences between those 3 films at The Killing of a Sacred Deer, though, and one of the biggest ones was that I found the essence of this film to be much more ominous and much more compelling. The characters were all unsettling… probably even the ones that you’re supposed to like and feel empathetic towards, honestly. Everyone was stone-faced and completely devoid of emotion most of the time except maaaybe Nicole Kidman’s character. Kind of. The only character that really felt like he was playing the “right” role was Barry Keoghan – but the problem is, he’s supposed to be a stone-cold sociopath and the rest of the characters are not.
It wasn’t until the climactic ending that I realized this was supposed to be somewhat of a black comedy. It’s definitely not a film that you are supposed to connect or relate to — how can you, honestly? It’s bizarre and super esoteric and I have to say, I wouldn’t venture to watch it a second time. I mean, it wasn’t like, a struggle to get through it, but it wasn’t an enjoyable ride either.
The one thing I can and will gladly say is that the cinematography was on point. Some of the shots were just absolutely gorgeous. I don’t know, I don’t even really know what my opinion of this one is because it was just such a… strange movie. I didn’t come out thinking, “what a waste of 2 hours of my life,” but I also didn’t come out thinking, “that was wonderful, I am a changed person” so I guess it’s just kind of… “meh.” Not a total flop, but kind of disappointing… not a great success, but definitely there was ‘something’ there.