Screening Room: ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’

An intoxicating blend of Greek tragedy, Kubrickian creep, and suburban satire, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is playing now. This is priority viewing.

My review is at Film Journal International:

The setting for Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest absurdist take on the violence underpinning society’s placid surfaces couldn’t be more mundane and the stakes couldn’t be higher. It could be that the movie is trying to build on the tradition of cinematic shocks to the bourgeoisie. Behind every great McMansion there must be a great crime. But it’s just as possible that, even though there are some scenes that play like an Ionesco translation of American Beauty, Lanthimos just wanted his background to be as unspecific as possible, so as not to detract from the off-kilter and walloping doozy of a story he’s telling…

Here’s the trailer:

‘Citizen Kane’ Gets a Downgrade

Those glorious Brit cine-eccentrics over at Sight and Sound have just put out their annual critics’ poll of the Top 10 films of all time, which wouldn’t normally be that newsworthy. However, given that they were one of the critical organs that was responsible for elevating Citizen Kane to its current stratospheric ranking in the canon, here’s the shocker: Vertigo is now number one. This is the first time a film besides Kane has occupied that position since 1962. It’s now been relegated to number two.

It was probably about time for a change of leadership. Does anybody really think Vertigo is the best film of all time, or even Hitchcock’s greatest work? Certainly one of the master’s more impressive films, but no Rear Window or even Shadow of a Doubt. Many other issues besides that with the list — no documentaries, not a Lean, Scorsese, or Kurosawa to be seen — but they could at least pick the right Hitchcock…

Vote yourself: