Tag: Nicole Kidman

Image courtesy of A24.

*** ½ (out of 4)

Given how frequently the word is tossed out, it might be lazy of me to say that Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer is original. But when it comes to someone like Lanthimos, there’s simply no adjective that better captures his style. This, after all, is the director who had teenagers stabbing cats and calling salt shakers telephones in the over-parenting dramedy Dogtooth – and who recently had bachelors turning into horses and dogs in the dystopian romance The Lobster. Now, in Killing, Lanthimos brings his wacky blend of absurdism and satire to the horror genre, telling the story of a surgeon named Steven (Colin Farrell) who strikes up an eerily close relationship with the son (Barry Keoghan) of a former patient.

From here, it’d be futile to try to describe Killing’s plot in more detail; as with Dogtooth and The Lobster, you have to see it to fully appreciate its surreal nonsensicalness. What can be said, however, is that Killing undoubtedly represents a step up in Lanthimos’ already-exceptional oeuvre.

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**** (out of 4)

In 1971, Dirty Harry director Don Siegel decided to helm the first movie adaptation of Thomas Cullinan’s novel The Beguiled. From a simple premise – during the Civil War, a wounded Northern soldier named John McBurney is taken in by a group of Southern women, and neither party has had serious contact with the opposite sex in years – Siegel constructed a film that only feels more dated with each passing year. Clint Eastwood’s Corporal McBurney comes off as a saint-like man whose less savory actions – making out with middle-school girls, threatening to rape slaves – can all be forgiven with a few mea culpas. [1] Each of the women, moreover, falls neatly into one of the two reigning stereotypical depictions of female characters in film: the passive maiden or the evil temptress. Add in Siegel’s usage of a happy slave, and you’ve got a movie that promotes a blatantly false view of gender, race, and history.

Thankfully, Sofia Coppola’s refreshing remake of The Beguiled gets rid of all the aforementioned tropes. But more than that, it’s also darker than Siegel’s version, both literally and figuratively.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals