Those unfamiliar with the work of Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos are in for a rude awakening with his latest masterful foray into the weird and wonderful realms of surreality. Unlike Lanthimos’ last dazzler, The Lobster, the boundaries of The Killing of a Sacred Deer are existent in a world that is inescapably our own and proves all the more disturbing for it. Consider this fair warning.
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We swan around in our privileged lives and it makes me sick.
80,000 children go missing in India every year. Read that sentence again. It’s a harrowing truth and deeply upsetting. It’s also the opening message and concluding statement of Garth Davis’ cinematic debut Lion, a profoundly moving film taken from the true story of a boy separated from his family by terrible misfortune. Lion begins with five year old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) and his elder brother, Guddu (Abhishek Bharate), stealing and selling from a coal train to support the rest of their impoverished family. Chaotic camerawork, so common in filmmaking’s approach to the fast and overpopulated Indian metropolis, follows the pair as they buy milk for their troubles and return victors of the ‘hunt’. Things go awry when Guddu leaves an exhausted Saroo on a station platform during a night job but does not return. Saroo’s journey as it unfolds hereafter takes the story thousands of miles and results in his adoption and emigration to Australia to live with John and Sue (David Wenham and a masterful Nicole Kidman). It is a jump of twenty years into the future and the sensory awakening provided by an Indian treat from his childhood that inspires in Saroo (now Dev Patel) an emotionally destructive obsession with rediscovering his home.
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