Maybe taste is comparison. Watch that then this, use the accumulated experiences to plot a hit from palpable to miss. I liked The Lobster a hell of a lot. “Yes,” was what I had to say about that. Then I watched The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and I’m Eleanor Shellstrop standing in a field realizing “Oh! This is the yes!”
I’m trying to figure out how to come at this and yeah maybe just stick with comparing, why not. Colin Farrell is better in The Lobster. We knew Collin Farrell’s got it, we all saw In Bruges, and he’s just phenomenal in The Lobster, nearly reaches Rachel Weisz’s level and that is SCOPE. But The Killing of a Sacred Deer doesn’t need that Collin Farrell, because it has Barry Keoghan. Not to relitigate 2017 (always to relitigate 2017), but Barry Keoghan not being nominated or frankly winning Best Supporting Actor is an affront. Barry Keoghan in this movie is the most alarming person I have ever seen. I do not know how to describe what fuckening obscurely panic-inducing thing he’s doing because it’s not on the level of any of the usual tics people use to convey creepy weirdo menace, no Barry’s out here making choices that seemingly no human being has ever made before, because every second he’s on screen it’s like my whole brain is trying to somersault out of this situation because it just can’t deal. I will think about watching him eat spaghetti for the rest of my goddamn life.
You know something of that kind of disorientation if you’ve seen The Lobster, because it had it too in its ways — that thing where no part of the tone is where you expect it to be, so nothing makes sense on some intrinsic level. My reaction to it is to laugh or shriek, sometimes both. The Lobster was laugh and The Killing of a Sacred Deer shriek, but wait for it because get this: I found The Lobster much much harder to watch, and just basically scarier and more gruesome. Yes, even with everything that happens in this one! I wonder if it has to do with the story’s reference point, which steps ever more forward as the movie goes on, and was a very satisfying & thrilling revelation for me that I am not about to take away from you.
But yeah, I think having this eventually overt story declaration allows The Killing of a Sacred Deer to be primarily a (distinctly unhinged) version of something, and worry less about its Ideas. The Lobster definitely has more to say, probably has more meaning or what have you, but The Killing of a Sacred Deer does not have its drifting structural problems and is overall more proficiently scripted dark ass fun. Yes I dared say fun!
Oh and everyone still delivers all their lines in that stilted deadpan and it’s JUST as glorious. I think this is my ASMR.