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The Killing of a Sacred Deer ending explained + Film Review - GhyFilmSociety

For NON-SPOILER REVIEW, click here.

Violence: 80%

Nudity showcased? : Yes Intercourse Showcased? : Yes Abusive Words: 10% Family/Adult: Adult Genre: Mystery, Horror, Drama, Psychological, Thriller

My overall score: 8.1⭐/10 ⚈⚈⚈FULL EXPLANATION⚈⚈⚈

Main Cast:

Colin Farrell as Steven Murphy

Nicole Kidman as Anna Murphy

Raffey Cassidy as Kim Murphy

Sunny Suljic as Bob Murphy

Barry Keoghan as Martin

Plot Explanation:

The film builds its suspense by playing dramatic orchestrated music over a black screen. [Why? Well this is the way of the director telling the viewers that the movie is set in a beautifully dark world.]

The black screen then cuts to a close-up of an exposed beating human heart of a heart surgery patient as it slowly zooms further out. [This is an extraordinary establishing shot because you can instantly get the sense of the kind of power and control that heart surgeons have over our well-being. It also establishes the daunting uneasy atmosphere.]

Then cuts to Steven takes off his bloody latex gloves and throws them in the trash in slow motion.

[This is a symbolic representation of Steven as a character. The dirty and bloody latex gloves represent his true repressive identity. By removing them and throwing them in the trash, he is burying his dark repressive self into a place where he hopes nobody will discover.]

After surgery, Steven talks to his anesthesiologist, and they talk about watches. [Take note of the conversation where he tells the anesthesiologist about how he prefers a metal strap for his watch rather than the leather strap.]

Steven then meets Martin at a diner and gifts him a metal watch. After meeting with Martin, Steven has dinner with his family. Bob, Steven's long-haired son, asks if he can go to a party with his sister, Kim. Steven says he can go if he cuts his hair. [Remember this.]

Steven mentions that he's been spending time with a schoolmate of Kim's, Martin, because Martin wants to be a cardiologist.[But the actual reason is something else. He is secretly meeting with Martin ever since after Martin’s father's death. He killed Martin’s father by performing surgery under the influence of alcohol. Steven hasn’t openly told anybody including Martin that the patient’s death was his fault. So in Steven’s mind devoting time to Martin when he can is his own way of reconciliation from his guilt.]

That night, Steven and Anna engage in some weird intercourse act where Anna poses on the bed for him and he starts kissing her. [In my opinion, the Murphy family is weird as everything about them is very mechanical, the way they talk, go about their lives, their sex, everything seems artificial.]

The next night, Anna and Steven go to a gala where Steven is speaking. There, Steven gives his speech, and later, when he is offered a cocktail, he says he left drinking. [Can you now understand why he says this? Its because he was drunk when he was operating on Martin's father and due to his drinking he killed a man, though he doesn't want to accept this fact.]

Steven then invites Martin over for dinner. Martin then tells that his father was in a car accident and died ten years earlier so now it's just him and his mom living together. Martin hangs out with Steven's children in Kim's room and later, Kim and Martin go on a walk together, and she sings for him in front of a tree while he sits and watches.

Kim and Martin begin to develop feelings for each other. Later, Steven is driving through the parking structure at the hospital and sees Martin following him. Martin asks Steven to come to dinner at his house. Steven agrees.

While they're eating dinner, Martin tells Steven that after dinner, he'd like for them all to watch his and his father's favorite movie, 'Groundhog Day'. [Its metaphorical in itself as Groundhog Day is about a TV weatherman who finds himself reliving the same day over and over again. In this movie, it signifies that after his father's death, Martin is reliving that inauspicious day again and again.]

Then Martin says he's tired so he gets up and leaves, leaving Steven alone with his mother. She then compliments Steven about his beautiful hands and becomes sexually obsessed. [In my opinion, Martin's mother have assumed that Murphy will kill his wife to save his children and will marry her after Anna is dead and gone. Martin too makes it very clear to Murphy about this through words and actions.] Steven then gets up and leaves. Few days later, Steven and Anna are at the anesthesiologist's house, and then Martin calls Steven to meet at their usual spot (restaurant) but Steven says he can't. The next day, Bob can't get out of his bed as he can't feel his legs. They took him to the hospital and ran full tests. But the result doesn't show anything happen to Bob's legs. So he with his mom started walking out of the hospital but suddenly, he collapses.

Next day, Martin visits Bob in the hospital and tells Steven to meet him in the hospital cafeteria. In the cafeteria, Martin tells Steven that as Steven killed a member of his family, he'd now have to kill a member of his own family to balance it out. He tells Steven that if he doesn't, his family will all die the same way. First, paralysis of the limbs. Second, by refusing to eat to the point of starvation. Third, bleeding from their eyes. Fourth, death. Soon after, Martin is escorted out of the hospital by the security. Steven then goes to see Bob and asks him to eat donuts but he refuses to eat.

Then, Kim too at choir practice collapses. She ends up in the hospital in the same room as Bob. She too refuses to eat.

The hospital then continues to run tests on the two of them and determine that according to the tests, there's nothing wrong with them. Steven tells Anna about what Martin told him. She asks him if he had been drinking the day that he operated on Martin's father. He says it's possible, but a death on an operating table is never the surgeon's fault, it's always the mistake of the anesthesiologist.

Anna meets with the anesthesiologist, and he says he remembers Steven having a couple of drinks before operating on Martin's father and clarifies when someone dies it's never the anesthesiologist's fault, but always the fault of the surgeon.

A couple of days later, Kim gets a phone call from Martin. He tells her to stand up and come to the window so she can see him in the parking lot. All of a sudden, she's able to stand up, and she goes to the window but doesn't see him. She starts going back to her bed, and her legs stop working again the second she hangs up the phone. [Why does Kim been able to stand up before getting paralyzed again? If you notice, even Bob too initially gains movement in his feet for a little while. So let's think about various possibilities:

Firstly, let's consider Martin as a supernatural being with a psychic of some sort. The way he's been able to know the incidents before it's about to happen will make you think of him being a supernatural being. But, in my opinion, the director doesn't want to make this highly metaphorical movie to have such a simple cause. Also, Martin was not present when Bob got paralyzed. This discards the theory that due to the presence of Martin, Kim has been able to walk momentarily.

Secondly, let's consider this movie happening in a slightly different world than ours where the rules are different. In this other world, the characters of the Murphy family are shown as mechanical. Their way of talking, sex seems artificial. Here, karma is part of their existence and this is how Martin is so sure about the incidents that about to happen. Take notice of the camera angles shown in the film, it appears that the camera is presented to be another entity that sometimes hovers above, or looks on creepily from below. But we also cannot discard this fact that Anna and Steven mention about the police. So justice system is present.

So as to answer why Kim has been able to stand up momentarily is because these are the internal rules of this other world and Martin understands what's happening. I think Kim does too and that's why she's so calm even after she's paralyzed.]

The children are made to come home instead of having to stay in the hospital. Anna then goes to see Martin. He tells her that Steven killed his dad and she and her children have to pay for Steven's fault. He also says that ever since his dad died Steven has been flirting with his mother and that he thinks they would be perfect for each other. [This is an exaggeration and a lie as earlier in the movie we can see Steven going away after Martin's mother become sexually obsessed with his hand. If Steven really flirt with her, then he wouldn't have gone away. Also, throughout the movie we didn't see any unfaithfulness of Steven towards Anna and his family. So this proves my point stated earlier that Martin and his mother both thinks that Steven would kill his wife in order to save his children and will later marry Martin's mother.]

Next, Steven takes Anna down to the basement where he has Martin taped to a chair. He beats Martin to try to get him to make it stop this. But Martin instead bites Steven's hand and says sarcastically

"Should I apologize?No. Should I, should I stroke your wound? Actually that would probably hurt even more, touching an open wound."

[When Martin sarcastically offers to rub his wound to make it feel better. This was him metaphorically gesturing towards the actions of Steven and sets up this scenario for Steven to confront, that would force him to honestly face his buried repressions and take full accountability for his pathetic and immoral actions.]

At night, when everyone is asleep, Kim drags herself down to the basement and asks Martin to let her walk again so they can run away together. Steven and Anna wake up and notice that Kim is not in her bed and they check every room, and she is nowhere to be found. They go down to the basement, and she's not there either. Steven asks Martin what he did to her. They start driving around the neighborhood and eventually find her dragging herself along with her knees/legs bleeding.

[Kim goes up to Martin because she’s already decided that it’s her brother, Bob, who is going to die. She even mentions this to Bob, asking him for his MP3 player after he’s dead. Soon she realizes that it’s not in Martin’s hands, and Steven is the one to decide. She escapes the house in desperation. When Steven and Anna find her and bring her back, we can see her go out of character and become exceedingly loving towards Steven, even offering herself as a sacrifice. She’s trying her best to not get picked for death.

It's clear that the children know about the decision Steven must make and they all start trying to flatter him to avoid having to die. Bob cuts his hair himself and says he wants to be a cardiologist. Anna tells Steven that they could've another baby so that Steven doesn't kill her and instead suggests him to kill one of their kids.]

The next day, Anna says she has set Martin free, and then Bob's eyes start bleeding.

Steven then makes his choice. He tapes up his family members and covers their faces and then seats them in the living room. He stands in the middle of them with a rifle and pulls a black beanie down over his face before and starts spinning in a circle and firing the rifle randomly. Unfortunately youngest child Bob gets shot by Steven before hitting the furniture a few times.

In the next scene, Steven, Anna, and Kim are eating in the diner where Steven used to meet with Martin. Martin walks in and sits at the bar and looks back at them. The family gets up and leaves.

Ending Explained

After the horrific event of killing Bob, the family is trying to resume a normal-ish life and is seen sitting on the same bar where Martin used to go. Then, Martin happens to stop by. Anna and Steven stop eating because they are unable to fully come to terms with the incident. Kim, however, loads her fries with ketchup and looks on at Martin as she eats them, just the way he likes it. She still seems to have feelings for Martin as when the family starts to walk out the door, Kim turns back and looks at Martin for one last time. The Murphy family leaves as Martin watches on.

Why is the movie titled 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer'?

The Sacred Deer is a reference to Iphigenia [Take notice that Kim writes an essay about Iphigenia], who is represented by a deer in Greek mythology. The deer is to be sacrificed to appease the goddess Artemis. This movie is a metaphorical-masterpiece. In this movie, the Sacred Deer is Bob who gets sacrificed to appease Martin.

Why doesn't Anna get paralyzed?

According to this movie, the younger suffers first. So going with this theory, it can be understood that Anna might have a week to catch up in relation to Kim who gets paralyzed a day after Bob got paralyzed.


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