The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The Killing of a Sacred Deer ★★★½

9th grade teacher explaining lord of the flies: it's a metaphor 
baby driver dude smoking unlit cigarette: it's a metaphor
dude from this biting a chunk out of his arm: it's a metaphor

if any movie defies the need for a number rating, it's this one.

this movie is confounding. i couldn't tell if it was failing or succeeding, though the question itself probably indicates the former. as we ease into the third act, the script starts to make a more overt play for dark humor, making the void of the earlier sections more pronounced.

it's not that humor is the definite way to go, but the world of this movie is bizarre in so many ways that you can't tell what's intentional. what's supposed to stand out as artifice. a wavy tension between what's real & unexplainable. the whole world is mundane, yet surreal. almost all of the characters talk in a bizarre way, their diction, pacing, and intonation. we're led to believe a number of characters think the daughter is a quality singer, or at least sociopathically encourage her to pursue music. like the desperate, tone deaf american idol contestants who show up with 20 family members who we're led to believe are supportive, but really the only way to be supportive in that situation would be to stop your loved one from auditioning in the first place. 

 this movie takes a lot of cues from michael haneke's 'funny games', though it's not nearly as consistently unnerving. (but Oh does it want to be.) similar in that the inertia of the charade, in part, lies in the choice to uphold social graces. yorgos takes this to an extreme. the characters are wildly silent. they barely ever react verbally, they internalize and avoid even as they're being overt. it's, again, sociopathic. it's choice isolation, begging for a medical cure but not a social one. refusing to break the bubble of the plot by asking for help from an outside source. the idea of police is used as a threat, but never a tool. maybe because the futility, but maybe also because of colin farrell's guilt/culpability.

(spoilers ?) there's this strange reaction where, for me, it didn't matter which character died. what matters is the choice, and the subsequent execution (in which we also find an almost exact parallel to haneke).

this is definitely, unique. it's beautiful, & finely crafted. yet it was hard to feel anything more than detached interest. at least until it becomes sadistically funny towards the end. it seems both a must watch, and an empty watch. i don't know where this leaves us.

when the daughter is pleading to be able to stand, i wish there'd been a creeping pan in to a slowed down 'i've got you under my skin'.

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