A Mixed Bag at the Cinema: The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) & Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

So recently I’ve been making quick review posts about films I’ve seen at the cinema; films I’ve grouped together as being super fantastic or super disappointing. This time around, I thought I’d post about a bit of a mixed bag – one film I loved so much I wanted to hug it to death, and another film I was excited by but quite disappointed in. I’ll be talking about Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) and the newest iconic space opera outing Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). I wonder which is which!

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister. (source)

This film opens with straight-up footage of actual open heart surgery; a beating heart sitting inside someone’s chest cavity, surgical instruments clawing apart the skin. Whose, we don’t know. But this shot does tell us what we need to know about this film before we even get to the characters or story – it’s a brutal, blunt piece of work that is going to freak us out, speaking to matters of grief and revenge. And in that, it completely succeeds. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is another film in Yorgos Lanthimos’ filmography which speaks purely in his voice, possesses his classic directorial quirks, his strange camera movements, and his classic lingering shots which become just a little bit awkward over time. The script is superbly bleak and funny, but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The story can be slow and extremely tense; one might say torturous in that respect. Likewise, the performances of Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell (and all the amazing child actors) won’t appeal to everyone – their deadpan, flat affect is intentional if you know what Yorgos Lanthimos is about, but this can be misinterpreted as just bad acting. Regardless, I love it. This film was an awkward, brutal delight.

Is it worth paying for a ticket?: Yes! (If it’s still in cinemas – run, don’t walk.)
Watch the trailer here.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order. (source)

I loved The Force Awakens so much. It was a brilliant return to form for the Star Wars franchise, it added to the mythology in an almost seamless manner, and it introduced a new group of characters who were exciting and memorable. So I went into The Last Jedi feeling relatively hyped for something fun and amazing, even though I didn’t watch any of the trailers prior to seeing it. Since its release, The Last Jedi has received a lot of negative critique; which has sometimes been for good reason, but sometimes it has been a bit nitpicky. Overall, cutting straight to the point without revealing any spoilers about the film – my opinion is that The Last Jedi was mediocre when examined under a magnifying glass, but exciting on a surface level. It’s once you start thinking about how the film totally disrespects the fundamental laws of physics, of disrespecting an audience who can easily pick plotholes apart, of all the rigmarole with one aspect of the story that is so stagnant that you totally wipe it from memory after leaving the cinema… once you start thinking about those things, you start to dislike it a little bit. But it’s exciting! Space! Lightsaber fights! Drinking alien breast milk! Anything to do with Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is undoubtedly the highlight, but unfortunately this is sandwiched between some unnecessary nonsense at times. Ultimately, The Last Jedi will be seen as the stepping stone between a great film (The Force Awakens), and whatever is to come in Episode Nine of this newest trilogy (which will probably also be great in comparison to this one). It’s a weak film, but it is certainly a fun and exciting distraction from non-Star Wars life.

Is it worth paying for a ticket?: Yes. It’s a Star Wars film. But it’s mediocre.
Watch the trailer here.

P.S. I keep typing the film’s name as The Lady Jedi and it cracks me up every time.

12 comments

  1. Hooray! I love seeing people get as much out of Yorgos’ last as I did. “an awkward, brutal delight.” is a really good way to put it I think!!

    1. I bloody loved it. I can’t wait to see what he does next!

  2. I respect the hell out of Killing if a Sacred Deer but I did not love it. I felt the style of dialog was good in The Lobster and Dogtooth, but not here. I’m way behind on seeing Last Jedi and that is why I have not read your post about it

    1. I think sometimes Yorgos Lanthimos’ style is hard to love, but I just fell right into it with this one. He’s got a new film slated for release next year and I’m super intrigued to know more about it.

  3. […] by Dogtooth (2009), I fell in love with The Lobster (2015), and I was completely entranced by The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017). I felt like after watching these three, I had a pretty solid understanding of what Lanthimos […]

  4. Nicely put. The Killing of a Sacred Deer was totally brutal and delightful at the same time, as you say. I am also of the opinion that more and more people would like now such films as Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. As seen from Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival, more people now “get” and appreciate complete “slow-burners” with weird displays.These films became “fashionable”, and they totally stand out and makes you think.That’s the future of cinematography.

    1. Thanks heaps! 🙂 I think you’re right, the slow-burners are probably much more appreciated nowadays. And I agree – the future is making people think critically instead of being entertained by shiny objects that mask a boring and derivative story.

  5. […] Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) […]

  6. Okay, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is going straight on my watch list! I hadn’t heard of it till now but I’m sold!
    I loved the Last Jedi but after that 2 year wait I think I would have loved whatever was on the screen so I can’t argue with your points at all!

    1. You need to see The Killing of a Sacred Deer! It’s completely horrific but has that classic Lanthimos charm. So deadpan and bleak but surprisingly funny in parts.

  7. […] Up: The Killing of a Sacred Deer I love Yorgos Lanthimos as a director, and I love his blunt, deadpan sensibilities in delivering […]

What do you think? Leave a comment here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: