The Killing of a Sacred Deer ★★★½

Perhaps because I have a bit of experience with dating/single life and none at all with parenthood, this resonates less with me as a sheer perverse delight than The Lobster -- but it's still splendidly off-putting and funny, cynically recasting the central conceits of movies like Sophie's Choice and Prisoners as absurd black comedy. I'm not sure I understand why the characters behave in such a stilted, emotionless manner but it certainly is amusing, especially if you imagine Lanthimos demanding that the actors read their dialogue more awkwardly. It also works as a divinely uncomfortable horror film, with Barry Keoghan the perfect (and perfectly mundane) supernatural villain. It's always a pensive thrill to be sitting alone with a film you absolutely can't trust, and this one is riveting; but some story elements and details do feel like dead ends (for instance, the anesthesiology kink), and though there is pain at the film's core, I didn't detect the beating, damaged heart that was so central to Lobster, nor is this film nearly as witty as that one. There were times when it felt like someone read all the negative reviews Stanley Kubrick got in his lifetime and blindly made an approximation of his work that actually did all the things he was routinely accused of doing, like when Talking Heads recorded "The Overload" in an attempt to imitate Joy Division without ever hearing their music.