Personally, I hate having to make a difficult decision. Often times I find the effort that is required to be taxing and depressing. But, it’s not often that I am given an ultimatum with grave consequences.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is an artsy flick. It starts out with complete mystery, and it boils with tension and uncertainty as it goes. It begins by showing us a man named Steven (played by Colin Farrell) who is eating at a diner with a young man named Martin. It’s awkward and we are not properly introduced, so we just kind of enter the conversation near the end. And the film continues to do this until the end of the 1st act when we get the real situation abruptly dropped in our laps.
Steven is a surgeon, and although it appears to be obvious to the viewer, Martin is not his son. Nor is he in a controversial relationship with him. But Martin has very obsessive tendencies – stalking Steve at his workplace and his home, and he is very insistent on having dinner with Steven and his family (he has a wife and one son and daughter), and to also have him over for dinner at his house with his mother. When he does agree to go over, Martin’s mother flirts heavily with Steve who deflects every move. And when Martin comes over to eat with Steve’s family, it is very awkward, but he is mostly polite to everyone – he even attempts to pursue a relationship with his daughter.
But after the dinner dates, Martin begins acting panicky. He even calls him literally a hundred time in one evening. And when Steve gives in and decides to meet him once again, we are thrown the gauntlet.
**If you want to avoid spoilers please scroll to the bottom paragraph**
Martin’s father died during a surgery – one that was performed by Steven. Martin is taking it very hard so he just likes his company, but this is really a front. During the dinner dates, Martin has done something to Steven’s entire family. One by one they begin waking up paralyzed, and then shortly after that, they are starving themselves to death. There is a 3rd part of their conditions where they will bleed from the eyes, and once we hit this point, it is fatal.
Why did Martin do this? Because Steven was drunk while performing the surgery that killed his father. What’s the point of this? Because Martin wants to make things fair, and he forces Steve to make a choice to kill one of his own. If he does, then Martin will revert the illnesses. If he doesn’t, then all 3 of them will suffer and die. It’s a horrifying and brutal film that contemplates heavily on the idea of making one of the most difficult choices a human being could ever have to make - especially a parent.
As I said earlier, it’s an artsy film, so it takes its sweet time to do anything. Even after we find out the situation, it’s still nothing but time as we make our way to the finale. The music is extremely minimal but disturbing, which to me was a highlight. It’s definitely not for everyone, and the material can be a bit triggering, but for those who feel they’ve seen everything, here’s a new one for you.
‘Til Next Time, Mike Cleopatra