THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER is one of the most messed-up cinematic psychological mind f**ks this year and because of that I absolutely love it. It is the kind of movie that never lets you get comfortable and throws humour in to unnerving situations. It then spends the entire movie misleading you while keeping you enthralled and generally destroying your mental health. I have not been able to stop thinking about ever since I viewed it. It is releasing this coming Wednesday 15th in Australia from Madman Films. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 121mins.

The good news is that as I am now mentally disturbed by the movie the kind folks at MADMAN FILMS want you to join me in craziness so you can win one of ten double passes – find out how at the end of the review. 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan image
Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan



Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a renowned cardiovascular surgeon presiding over a spotless household with his ophthalmologist wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) and their two exemplary children, 12-year-old Bob (Sunny Suljic) and 14-year-old Kim (Raffey Cassidy). Lurking at the margins of his idyllic suburban existence is Martin (Barry Keoghan), a fatherless teen who Steven has covertly taken under his wing.

As Martin begins insinuating himself into the family’s life in ever-more unsettling displays, the full scope of his intent becomes menacingly clear when he confronts Steven with a long-forgotten transgression that will shatter the Murphy family’s domestic bliss.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell image
Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell


DOGTOOTH, the insanity filled LOBSTER from 2015, and now THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER. Lanthimos should be consider more an auteur than a filmmaker. He answers to no-one and makes films from his own twisted mind that while set in the world we live are from a very different world. He has created what at first appears like a simple black and white revenge movie but is in fact based on Greek mythology and the battle of gods. Dr Murphy (Farrell) is a heart surgeon, and in a metaphorical sense, a godlike character. Keoghan’s Martin is purely embracing an eye for an eye in his revenge. To set things balanced he offers a solution to Dr Murphy. He is in effect the devil in the movie.

The titling holds a sense of explanation when it is explained itself. Let’s go way back to Greek mythology. The movie has inspiration in Homer’s Iliad and more so in Euripides’s Iphigenia at AulisIphigenia is sacrificed because Agamemnon accidentally killed a sacred deer that belonged to Artemis, and she requires blood in return. An eye for an eye came from Greek mythology – or realistically basic human nature. We want to kill that which kills what we love. THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER is the metaphorical embodiment of that nature. Martin even clearly says it in the middle of a movie while blood is oozing from his face “It’s a metaphor” – this met with most critics laughing in my screening.


The other odd inspiration I got out of the movie was the relevance of STAR TREK’S Kobayashi Maru scenario. The scenario is something taught in Star Trek academy to new cadets. It is a scenario in which you cannot win, it is famous in STAR TREK lore because Captain Kirk, as a cadet, cheated and beat the scenario. But THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER is an unwinnable scenario. Lanthimos more misdirects this movie than directs it. The human psyche will constantly search for a way out, a way to win, to survive, but Lanthimos is the puppet master and he is basically here to f**k with you. You can’t win so don’t fight it, don’t try and find reason in the movie because there is no answers coming.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer Barry Keoghan image
Barry Keoghan


The acting in the movie is hard to judge. It is all exceptional but it is all different. Farrell embraced it in THE LOBSTER and the entire cast embraces it in THE KILLING OF A SCARED DEER. It is acting without inflection or emotion. It is like reading lines without emotional involvement. I have an “autistic spectrum” friend who speaks this way – it is all matter of fact without considering whatever is being said. In the middle of a dinner conversation Dr Murphy will just state his daughter started menstruating with as much emotion as a piece of cardboard. No one reacts to anything said but continues emotionless conversation. Farrell is much better at it and it is sporadically humorous. It breaks up the dark undertones of the movie.

Kidman is fantastic in this and her recent roles are going from strength to strength reminding everyone of how bloody good she is. The kids are also fantastic – did they have a clue what movie they were in when they were filming it? The last scene with Sunny Suljic will break your heart, such a tremendous little actor.

Barry Keoghan steals the movie for me, his performance is so subtle and menacing, he is terrifying. My mind was trying to fathom who or what he is and the only conclusion I could come to was “an agent of the devil, a demon sent to Earth for revenge’s sake.” If you can’t work out where you know him from he is the kid on the boat in DUNKIRK.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer Raffey Cassidy image
Raffey Cassidy


THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER is no Hollywood movie. It is a film with deep-seated metaphor and a film that will be studied at film schools for years to come. Its inspirations are derived from Greek mythology and human nature. The director has a lot of pleasure misdirecting the audience at every turn. Do not try to reason with this movie, just strap in for one dark ride into absurdity.


With special thanks to MADMAN FILMS and Nixco PR to win one of the ten double passes to see at THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage). Further to this you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following questions:

What is the most f**ked up movie of all time and why? Mine is a hand’s down winner to SALO – that thing ruined me for months. I do not endorse watching it at all!!

If you do not have social media then you can still enter, leave your entry below in the comments and then email me at telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

This is a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges. 

This is a quick one and the prizes will be drawn first thing Wednesday 15th so they can be sent out in time to watch next weekend  Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this  is only available to Australian residents.


 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.

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