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DIRECTOR Yorgos Lanthimos draws loosely on Greek mythology for a twisted and beguiling morality tale that tests one father's love to breaking point.

Like all of Lanthimos' earlier work, the film is distinguished by the quality of the writing and he skilfully employs staccato lines of dialogue to pique curiosity and set our nerves on edge.

Cardiac surgeon Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) meets with a mysterious 16-year-old called Martin (Barry Keoghan). A few days later, Steven invites Martin to his home and introduces the guest to his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman), 14-year-old daughter Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and younger son Bob (Sunny Suljic). Over dinner, Martin sombrely reveals that he lost his father in a car accident so now it is just him and his mother (Alicia Silverstone).

Soon after, a strange affliction takes hold of the Murphy household.

The boy is rushed into hospital, where his condition worsens, and then Kim is struck down by the same debilitating symptoms.

The Killing Of A Sacred Deer comes tantalisingly close to replicating the macabre genius of Lanthimos' earlier work, but falls short in the final act.

Farrell and Kidman deliver haunting performances, the latter laying herself bare for disconcerting sex sequences, while Keoghan oozes righteous rage as a son on a mission to assuage grief with a sacrifice.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2017
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