Tag Archives: surgeon

The Killing of a Sacred Deer – Review

18 Nov

There are certain film makers working right now where it’s pretty much guaranteed that anything they release will be a completely original piece of work. One of these film makers is the one and only Yorgos Lanthimos. My first experience with Lanthimos was with his surreal family drama/coming of age story called Dogtooth. Just last year I had the pleasure of seeing his dystopian romance titled The Lobster, which made me laugh as much as it made me think. Continuing this string of totally oddball films is his latest, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which almost slipped under my radar. I watched a trailer for it the day before seeing it, but still didn’t really have a sense what it was about. I’m glad I went in that blind because what I saw was one of the most disorienting movies I’ve seen in a long time and I’m thrilled I didn’t miss it.

Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a surgeon that has used his skills to help create a great life for himself. He’s celebrated in the community and has a really nice house with his wife, Anna (Nicole Kidman), and his two kids, Kim (Raffey Cassidy) and Bob (Sunny Suljic). He’s also taken a teenage boy who is in his daughter’s class, Martin (Barry Keoghan), under his wing since he’s had a hard time coping after his father died during heart surgery. The odd part is that Steven was the surgeon and he’s may or may not be hiding something from Martin concerning that day. When Steven’s children begin to get mysteriously ill and just keep getting worse after many different doctors can’t diagnose what’s wrong with them, it becomes clear that Martin may have something to do with it, and his ultimatum to make it all stop will change the Murphys’ lives forever.

The first thing I absolutely need to touch on is how this movie is written and how it is performed. From the very first line of dialogue, I knew something was weird. Everyone spoke so literally and used such a dull, matter of fact way of delivering these lines. It was very hard to get used to because pretty much no one talks like that. It made for some very cold characters that felt like they were miles away from the reality we are all living in. There’s one scene where Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell both have a break down in their kitchen, and that was really the only time any true honesty or emotion was being conveyed. To many people, this will be a major deal breaker. This isn’t a straightforward narrative with straightforward characters. These characters almost feel programmed to say what should be said in a certain situation instead of saying what they feel. It’s almost sociopathic, but that’s just what this movie needs.

Not only is the acting very cold, but the cinematography seems almost non existent. This film is shot in hues of gray and blue with other, brighter colors coming in rarely. The locations are almost bare of any kinds of decorations, besides what is necessary for the characters to use to live, and this just mirrors their lack of any kind of moral or personal connection to the world they live in. They merely exist, and up until this point, existed free of consequences. The striking score of the film completely clashes with the bare cinematography and set design and succeeded wonderfully at sending shivers down my spine, even if the image was nothing all that off putting. The entire movie is made to make the viewer feel uncomfortable. Finally, and possibly most importantly, the camerawork is disorienting in the best possible way. It flows behind characters, often times going out of focus or losing them in the frame some other way. Zooms end with people on the far side of the screen instead of firmly in the center. It will also often times linger too long on somebody or something, just to add a new layer of creepy that otherwise may have slipped beneath the surface.

Finally, I can’t praise the originality of Yorgos Lanthimos and The Killing of a Sacred Deer enough. We have a film made by an artist that is totally unafraid of controversy and backlash. This movie doesn’t pull any punches and will leave you confused and wanting more. There are things that happen in the world of this movie that would surely be explained in any summer blockbuster, but Lanthimos isn’t interested in answering questions. He’s interested in telling a story that defies all logic, but demands you pay attention to the straightforward way he tells it. This isn’t an easy film and it can’t really be compared to any other film, other than maybe something else Lanthimos has done. He has a style all his own and I can’t wait to dive down this rabbit hole again.

I absolutely loved this movie. I loved this movie more than I thought I would and it’s been sneaking around in the back of my mind since I saw it. It’s hilarious, disturbing, awkward, cold, and ultimately original. When I see a piece of work done by a film maker who isn’t afraid to break any and all rules, I feel a sort of respect that’s rare. The Killing of a Sacred Deer isn’t for everyone, and it is admittedly hard to get into at first, but once you find its rhythm, I dare you not to remain hooked.

Final Grade: A

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Turistas – Review

15 Dec

I almost feel like what’s the point of reviewing this? Do I really have anything to say? No, at least nothing that’s already been said, but if I did that I wouldn’t really be doing my job as a reviewer. Pretty much, I feel like this movie is a missed opportunity. Here we have something that, with the proper execution, could have been really good. Instead I sat through an hour and a half of derivative and all around disappointing work.

Turistas

 

After a bus crash leaves a group of tourists stranded on a dirt road in Brazil, they decide to go to the nearby beach (quite convenient) for a day and drinking, swimming, and taking their clothes off. The next day, they awaken with all of their money and passports gone. Now, desperate to get home, they become involved with a psychotic doctor who makes his living harvesting the organs of tourists to sell to the hospitals of South America.

The whole idea of harvesting organs is really cool, and grounded in some sort of sick reality. There’s a scene where the audience gets the grotesque pleasure of seeing the doctor at work, but that’s really all the sickening scenes that this movie has to offer. Look at a contemporary horror film of this genre, Hostel. Lots of good build up with some extra gruesome satisfaction as a payoff. Turistas has a lot of boring build up with one memorable scene for all of the effort it took to sit through the mediocre dialogue of the ensemble of two dimensional characters.

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The actors are really nothing special. Josh Duhamel leads the cast with a performance that I can’t even remember. My eyes kept returning to Olivia Wilde because she’s Olivia Wilde. The only person that really kills it in this movie is Miguel Lunardi as Zamora, the doctor. He’s an evil son of a bitch with a great speech as he performs his operation. Why couldn’t there be more gut wrenching scenes like that? I don’t know what was more effective, the carving or the talking. There’s another cool scene of his involving a stick and an eye socket. The climax is also note worthy for its suspense. So far we have three good scenes out of the entire movie. Great…

The scenery is more interesting than the movie itself. I would occasionally tune out all of the monotonous talking and just look at the crystal clear waters and elegant jungles of Brazil. Too bad this isn’t a travel documentary of South America. It’s a horror movie! Shouldn’t I feel…scared? Well I didn’t. Instead I just wanted to go to South America and see all the sights. I feel like with this storyline, I shouldn’t want to get to Brazil in a hurry, but it really didn’t effect me at all.

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Turistas is a stupid movie with more than enough chances provided to be good. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much just a lame excuse to get a group of women to walk around in bikinis for half of a movie, add a scene or two of gore, and say “There, it’s a horror movie. Who wouldn’t want to watch this?” Well, me for starters. Then I’d say most of the people who were forced to sit through this derivative mess of a movie. Save yourself an hour and a half of your time, and don’t watch this. Instead watch a torture/gore horror film of this period that does it right, like Hostel.