Judging from some of the comments online, not everyone “gets” the films by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos and his screenwriting partner, Efthymis Filippou.
I’ll admit it. Watching the twisted family dynamics in Dogtooth (Oscar nominee – Best Foreign Film – 2009) was kinda bizarre.
The duo’s follow-up film, The Lobster (Oscar nominee- Best Original Screenplay- 2017) is even harder to figure (Colin Farrell, playing against type, is a lonesome, socially awkward bachelor, who checks into a special hotel where residents have 45 days to find a mate among their fellow guests or be transformed into an animal of their choice. His brother, who failed the test, has been turned into a dog.)
The latest effort, The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Winner – Best Screenplay – Cannes Film Festival- 2017), is, I am informed, inspired by Greek tragedy. Mind you, a person would have to be sharp to pick up on this. The title of the film, as it was explained to me, dates back to Iphigenia in Aulis by the 4th century BC playwright Euripides. And, of course, there is a random reference to Iphigenia in the screenplay.
One critic has suggested that Lanthimos has traded in “theatre of the absurd” for “theatre of cruelty”. Certainly Sacred Deer is a heavy watch. (Even Colin Farrell, portraying a heart surgeon who makes a fatal mistake , has told an interviewer that he was “f—-ing depressed” while shooting the film.)
The cast also includes Nicole Kidman.
Does this woman have a portrait in the attic a la Dorothy Gray? (Or is that Dorian). No matter. She gives a deeply committed performance as usual. Barry Keoghan (you may have spotted him in Dunkirk) is especially spooky.
The film starts out slowly at first and gradually tightens like a noose around your neck on its way to its remorseless, chilling conclusion. Yikes!