Video on Demand — December 2017

Video pick of the month

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Yorgos Lanthimos continues doing his thing here — antisocial line readings, pitch black humor, bursts of brutality, a Surrealist flair for the absurd — this time in a forwardly Kubrickian mode. Riffing on The Shining (1980) in both form and motif, Sacred Deer shows the casually supernatural relationship between an unnamed cardiologist (Colin Farrell) and a teenager named Martin (Barry Keoghan) in a very direct fusion of Sophie’s-choice and eye-for-an eye-thriller narratives. Lanthimos’s regular DP, Thimios Bakatakis, monitors the action with gliding, symmetrical, high- and wide-angle framing, which creates the sensation that we are watching the world in a mechanized bubble, and that the gaze belongs to the mise en scène rather than any particular subject. To counter a choice line from late in the film — “It’s a metaphor, it’s symbolic” — there is nothing metaphorical or symbolic here. It is what it is, present while it’s there, gone when it’s not, and you either laugh along or curse its existence. (Blake Williams)

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