Film review: The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Director: Yorgos Lanthimos)
By Sascha Krieger
The ancient Greek king Agamemnon was a mighty man. But compared to the gods, he was nothing. Long before he would die at the hands of his wife and her lover, the beginning of the final chapter of his family’s pre-destined downfall, while he was on his way to lead the Greek troops in the Trojan war, he killed a deer. A sacred deer, it turned out. Artemis, goddess of hunting, didn’t quite like that, so she manipulated the winds so that the Greek fleet was stuck where it was. in order to free it, she demanded a sacrifice of Agamemnon: that of his daughter Iphigenia. Being the dutiful king, general and subject he was, Agamemnon complied. And even though many later attempts have been made – some unknown ghostwriter seems to even have added such a turn to Euripides‘ original play – to have Iphigenia survivor, this is how the original story ends. Greek film maker Yorgos Lanthimos no doubt knows his Greek mythology. And he likes this ending. Be4cause it gives his a great blueprint to explore motives of guilt, sin and redemption in a world only seemingly far removed from ancient Aulis. And he does so in a film as cold as the hearts of the gods – and as radical in its constistency, as brutal in its straightforwardness as the Greeks consider faith. A film you’ll either love or hate. There is no in-between.