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The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

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Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.

Director:

Yorgos Lanthimos
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509 ( 38)
5 wins & 52 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Barry G. Bernson ... Dr. Larry Banks (as Barry Bernson)
Herb Caillouet Herb Caillouet ... Ed Thompson (Hospital Director)
Bill Camp ... Matthew Williams
Raffey Cassidy ... Kim Murphy
Denise Dal Vera ... Mary Williams
Colin Farrell ... Steven Murphy
Barry Keoghan ... Martin
Nicole Kidman ... Anna Murphy
Drew Logan Drew Logan ... Principal
Alicia Silverstone ... Martin's Mother
Sunny Suljic ... Bob Murphy
Michael Trester Michael Trester ... Elderly Man
Ming Wang ... Doctor (Abdominal)
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Storyline

After the untimely death of 16-year-old Martin's father on the operating table, little by little, a deep and empathetic bond begins to form between him and the respected cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Steven Murphy. At first, expensive gifts and then an invitation for dinner will soon earn the orphaned teenager the approval of Dr Steven's perfect family, even though right from the start, a vague, yet unnerving feeling overshadows Martin's honest intent. And then, unexpectedly, the idyllic family is smote by a fierce and pitiless punishment, while at the same time, everything will start falling apart as the innocents have to suffer. In the end, as the sins of one burden the entire family, only an unimaginable and unendurable decision that demands a pure sacrifice can purge the soul. But to find catharsis, one must first admit the sin. Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

R for disturbing violent and sexual content, some graphic nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Acting for the first time in his 67 years, Cincinnati native Michael Trester plays the Elderly Man in a scene with Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and Bill Camp at a medical convention banquet. See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Steven Murphy: A surgeon never kills a patient. An anaesthesiologist can kill a patient, but a surgeon never can.
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Soundtracks

Konzert für Violoncello und Orchester
Composed by György Ligeti
Published by C.F. Peters Ltd & Co. KG, Leipzig
Licensed by Peters Edition Limited, London
Recording licensed courtesy of (p) 1967 SFB (rbb - Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg)
Licensed by rbb media GmbH
Performed by soloist Siegfried Palm with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Conducted by Henryk Czyz
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User Reviews

 
Iphigenia in Aulis
2 December 2018 | by CineanalystSee all my reviews

What a strange filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos is. Had I not already seen "The Lobster" (2015) (and have since seen two of his earlier Greek productions), I probably would've been completely taken aback by this one, "The Killing of a Sacred Deer." Like its predecessor, its characters seem to occupy some alternate reality entirely dominated by egocentrism, deviant sex and magical retaliatory justice. Again, the acting is intentionally stilted, and there seem to be archaic literary references. I found the eye-for-an-eye pun of "The Lobster" amusing, but the source of Ancient-to-Classical Greek mythology here is quite a treat for me. At university, I took a class, not unlike the daughter in this movie, that included reading the play "Iphigenia in Aulis" by Euripides and, then, viewing the 1977 film adaptation "Iphigenia" directed by Mihalis Kakogiannis. Unfortunately, the result in "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" is rather muddled.

In the Greek myth, King Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter, Iphigenia, at the behest of the goddess Artemis to allow him and his troops to proceed on the warpath to fight the Trojans. In some versions, Iphigenia is replaced by a deer, hence the title of this movie. The reason I don't think the effects work as well here as they did in "The Lobster" is because whereas that movie took human shortcomings to absurd extremes, this one takes what was already by modern standards an absurd myth and attempts to make it modern and more ordinary. Gods are dead and replaced by doctors, and if there is a god, apparently, he's a pockmarked teenager seeking revenge for his dead father. I suppose a surgeon's wife role playing during sex as a patient under general anesthesia and a father recalling to his son the time he masturbated his father is more in line with some of the sexual perversity one finds in some Classical Greek literature, though. Yet, overall, it comes across as disjointed. If this were supposed to be a psychological thriller, it seems difficult to lure the spectator in without being able to identify with the characters--whereas this was unnecessary in the black comedy of "The Lobster" (and contradictory to the intent of the Greek movies). But, the stilted acting and illogical premise of the narrative works against identification. I don't think any amount of tense scoring and camera movement from distant perspectives can alleviate that--in a world where nothing is sacred.

P.S. I still don't quite get the point of "Groundhog Day" (1993) as the film-within-the-film. Is it just because characters in both are prisoners of fate or something? I prefer the self-reflexivity of the director's prior "Dogtooth" (2009) and "Alps" (2011).


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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Ireland | UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

3 November 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Killing of a Sacred Deer See more »

Filming Locations:

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$115,120, 22 October 2017

Gross USA:

$2,291,901

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,027,336
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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