The Killing of a Sacred Deer Review: What Does the Ending of Mean?

The meaning of the movie The Killing of a Sacred Deer: plot & ending. The Killing of a Sacred Deer, released in 2017, was a joint effort between British and American filmmakers. I must say, the resulting creation has earned recognition not only from movie lovers, but also from professionals. In the year of its release, the picture was awarded the prize of the Cannes Film Festival for the best screenplay. But the controversy around the imagery and allegoricalness of this movie still does not stop. So, we are looking for the meaning of the film The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

Description of the story

Just as a theater begins with a hanger, so does a film begin with a title. Sometimes, especially when translated into Russian, its meaning is lost. The audience is puzzled: how are the words on the poster related to what is happening in the film? But in this case, everything is quite logical.

Meaning of the movie title The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The title of the film refers the viewer to the ancient Greek myth of King Agamemnon. He acted very irresponsibly by killing the sacred deer belonging to the goddess Artemis. The woman, of course, was angry, and in punishment she forced the unlucky hunter to sacrifice his own daughter.

Thus, viewers who know this legend could already imagine in advance what the meaning of the film The Killing of a Sacred Deer would be, and also suggest an ending.

Film The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The picture begins with frames, I must say very realistic frames, of a surgical operation on an open heart. Doctors are fighting for the patient’s life, but because of a mistake or inattention of a not quite sober cardiac surgeon, it is not possible to save the patient.

On a note! The picture shows a real operation – coronary bypass surgery. Colin Farrell, who starred in the film, was in attendance.

Stephen Murphy, that unfortunate surgeon, does not at all blame himself for the patient’s death. However, when a strange boy Martin appears in his life, calling himself the son of a deceased patient, he does everything to earn forgiveness. He hides this communication from his family to the last. The Murphy family is:

  • in fact, Stephen himself;
  • his wife Anna;
  • son Bob;
  • daughter Kim.

But at some point, the fate of Martin and the Murphy family are closely intertwined. It all starts with the fact that Bob inexplicably stops walking. Such an unexpected paralysis cannot be explained by any eminent luminaries of the medical world. According to all examinations, the boy is absolutely healthy. Martin answers the questions. And here begins a completely different movie.

Eye for an eye, heart for a heart

Stephen, who took his father’s life, must give the life of one of his family members in return. Otherwise, his household will die one by one. And it all starts … with paralysis.

On a note! After the incredible success of The Lobster, director Yorgos Lanthimos garnered a second wave of applause with the help of the Deer, poking the audience into a pain point – the difficulty of choosing, in which one must sacrifice the small in order to save the big.

Steven and his wife Anna do their best to avoid this choice. But when their eldest daughter Kim is also paralyzed, and Bob begins to cry tears of blood, they realize that procrastination is similar to death. And Steven leaves the opportunity to make a choice to a random shot. Bob dies.

Ending and hidden meaning

How did The Killing of a Sacred Deer end? In the last frames we see the Murphy family, which now, in an incomplete composition, came to dine in a cafe. Martin walks past them like a stranger.

And further – only the views that the characters give each other. Murphy’s eyes are filled with hatred, fear and… relief? But in Martin’s eyes there is no sense of satisfaction. What did Lanthimos want to show by having Kim Murphy gobbling up potatoes generously drenched in blood red ketchup and Martin drinking crystal clear water? One thing is clear: Martin is presented in the film as a kind of deity, carrying out retribution, but not enjoying forced measures.

Movies with meaning almost always have a lot of images and allegories. This picture seems to expose the soul, separating everything bodily from it with a surgical scalpel, ripping it off, like Kim’s knees. And the blood that can be so hard to wash off even the most beautiful hands. The surname of the family of the main characters Murphy refers to the famous Murphy’s law, according to which, at the slightest possibility of trouble, it will definitely happen. And the name of the deceased patient, with whom it all actually began – Lang – coincides with the name of the famous English psychiatrist R. D. Lang, the founder of the so-called antipsychiatry.

On a note! Antipsychiatry was formed as a counterbalance to psychiatry, which claims that biological causes in the form of impaired brain activity underlie mental illness.

Separately, it should be said about the musical accompaniment. Strings pierce throughout the film, exposing nerves and penetrating into the lower abdomen. These sounds do not let you relax even at the very beginning, when the film is still positioned as a black comedy. And Bach at the end, as a result. When all the cards are laid out on the table.

The meaning of The Killing of a Sacred Deer can be found in the dialogue, in the plot, in the overall atmosphere, and even in the soundtrack. The amazing performances of Pharrell, Kidman and Keoghan complete the film’s integrity and make it a must-see for anyone who loves films with meaning.

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