Barry Keoghan & Colin Farrell shine in psychological thriller

This film is certainly not for everyone, so if you’re not interested in psychological thrillers and dystopian films, choose Bad Moms 2 instead.

The opening scene of Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest film, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, greets us with open-heart surgery. The bare image of the heart beating is creepy, dark, yet at the same time, it sets the tone for the rest of the movie.

We’re then introduced to Dr Steven Murphy, a successful heart surgeon played by Irishman Colin Farrell. Similar to Lanthimos’ film, The Lobster, Farrell plays his role with an eerie, robotic tone of voice. In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Farrell seemingly has it all – a big house, a great job, a beautiful wife (played by Nicole Kidman) and two teenage children.

In The Lobster, Lanthimos showcased Colin Farrell as a weak character, who was relying on love to save him. In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Farrell is far from weak. His character Steven exudes confidence, he is well respected amongst his medical peers and he believes that he has done no wrong in life. Well, at least that’s how it looks to the viewer.

Lurking in the background of this idyllic world is a troublesome teenage boy, Martin, who is played by Barry Keoghan. Steven gives a lot of time to Martin; treating him to lunches and buying him expensive watches. To the viewer, it looks as though Martin may be the product of an affair that Steven had 16 years ago. However, their relationship is not built on love, but built on guilt.

Some years ago, Steven was reliant on alcohol. He performed some heart surgeries under the influence. One of these surgeries involved Martin’s father, who later died on the operating table. Martin, the blue-eyed innocent boy that we saw at the start of the film, is quietly biding his time.

Steven’s two teenage children, Bob and Kim (played by Sunny Sulijic and Raffey Cassidy) mysteriously become paralysed from the waist down one day. There is no medical science out there that can explain their illnesses. Yet, Martin knows. It is then up to heart surgeon Steven to make a sacrifice. An eye for an eye comes to mind.

The cast of The Killing of a Sacred Deer are excellent in how they act. Colin Farrell plays the ever-confident surgeon well. Similar to The Lobster, he is one of the stand-out characters of the film.

Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell in The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Credit: Curzon Artificial Eye

Nicole Kidman, who plays Farrell’s wife, Anna, compliments his role. In the same robotic tone as Farrell, she plays a character who strives for perfection for her family. Yet, at the same time, she is willing to sacrifice all that for herself and her husband.

The performances of Steven and Anna’s two teenage children compliment the storyline. Scenes showing their paralysis are hard to watch, yet intriguing at the same time.

The actor that stole the movie’s attention was Barry Keoghan, who played the character of Martin. His unpredictability always made the viewer wonder where he’d be next, what he’d do next and what he’d say next. He is the one character that will hold your interest throughout the film. Any time he spoke or acted mysteriously, it was hard to pull yourself away from the seemingly innocent blue-eyed boy. His performance stole the show from beginning to end.

This film comes with one big fault. It runs for two hours long. Halfway through the film, the viewer has a fair idea of what’s going on and there’s absolutely no need for another hour. This film would have been sufficient to run for 90 minutes. It felt like it was slowly dragging on until the end. When you’ve paid good money to see the movie, that’s the last thing you need.

Overall, apart from the over-exaggerated time frame, I’d give this movie a 4/5. Yorgos Lanthimos and his team obviously spent much time perfecting these characters, perfecting this setting and plot and it shows. The music used in scenes is creepy, perfectly matching the tone of the movie. The way in which the cameras were poised to follow characters, spy on characters and engage with characters was an excellent tool to create a sinister atmosphere.

Nothing about The Killing of a Sacred Deer is for the faint-hearted. But, if you wonder whether everything is as perfect in life as it seems, this film is a must watch.

By Leanne Salmon

The trailer of the film can be found here;

Opinion: Is it possible to work and study at the same time?

By Emily Hull

I would not have made it to final year if it had not been for employment – nor, would I have been able to live Dublin had it not been for the income that employment gave me.

From my own experience, I know that it is feasible to work while studying. But, I also know that with the journalism degree I am studying for, it’s possible for me to work as there isn’t long class hours like there is for other degrees.

Luckily, my timetable doesn’t read ‘nine to five Monday to Friday’, with the expectation of staying in the library every evening after that. Depending on the year of the degree, I am in three to four days, for 10 to 15 hours for the entire week and working always over thirty hours a week during the college year. On mid-terms and holidays I’ve taken on more hours and hit 50 and even 60 hours. Then again, I’ve always needed to.

Startup Stock Photos
Startup Stock Photos

Like many students across the country, my university registration fees – which are now at €3,000 a year – are neither covered by the SUSI grant system, or my parents. I live exactly 233km from home, I pay my fees, my rent, my bills, and for everything else I need.

So it has never been an option for me NOT to work.

If I had been unlucky in the sense that I was enrolled in one of the many degrees that requires its students to be in lecture halls all day long, and then study in the library every evening for hours – what would I have done? Would I still have worked? Why, of course the answer is yes.

Graduate Programme Manager with the Jameson International Graduate Programme, Sinéad D’Arcy said: “There is no doubt that students who take up part-time work during third-level education receive a valuable insight into the professional world. What is important is finding the right balance between part-time employment and studies, so that a job is never allowed to come at the expense of academic success.”

Sinéad explained that while working alongside studying can prepare a student for life after university, what can’t be overlooked post-graduation is a student who has a strong academic record.

“As an employer with a proud history of hiring and retaining the best graduates through our Jameson International Graduate Programme, we look for candidates who have demonstrated commitment throughout third-level, complemented by passion, entrepreneurship and a determination to succeed. If they have managed to balance academic responsibilities along with a part-time job, we see that as a real achievement, but it is by no means the be all and end all.”

For me, and many others, working has always been a necessity – but for some, all they want is a bit of extra cash, or some experience in the working world. Whatever the reason, it’s essential that your work does not overwhelm you so much as to hinder your grades.

In the past three years of college, working as a waitress in a busy café bar has definitely taken its toll on me physically and emotionally. Often, I would work twelve hours shifts with one half an hour break and by the end of the week I’d be too tired to get out of bed at 7am on Monday morning for a 9am lecture, let alone study. Stress from work would add to the stress of assignments due and it would take its toll – leading to sickness, physical injury from carrying heavy trays in work, rushed assignments – and ultimately affect my grades.

(Source: Pixabay)

Christiane, a career adviser at DIT Career Development Centre said: “Working during college can provide students with an opportunity to develop professional skills that employers will be seeking upon graduation such as communication. However, all the benefits of working while in college can unfortunately be reduced, if not eliminated, by the cons of working too much.”

Christiane believes the key is balance, and it is something that I have come to learn myself.

Now, a few months in to final year in DIT,  my focus is on my academic work. The big picture had me always putting college first. I knew that if I worked as much as I could from 1st to 3rd year that I could finance myself and get by until my grades really mattered in fourth year.

As for the students in the lectures and labs from nine to five situation – if you have to work you will find a way to schedule it in – whether that be working the weekend and taking extra shifts some evenings during the week, and extra shifts on holidays – you can do it.

Deferring a year isn’t the end of the world. If it’s what you have to do to get enough to money to finish the degree you have given up your hobby or your social life to achieve – then take that gap year. Work now so that you won’t have to work this hard ever again.

Because that’s what were hoping for, right? Hoping that if we spread ourselves thin over working and getting assignments in, and getting to class NOW – that we won’t have to do post graduation, or when we’re 30, or when we have a family or until retirement.

Opinion: College & Commuting

By Dara Boyle

College, a time in a young person’s life when they embark on a profound journey of growth and self-discovery… or a two-hour journey on crammed public transport, twice a day.

With Dublin’s infamous rent prices, large numbers of students find themselves unable to take the step of moving out and finding somewhere to live that’s closer to their college.  Thousands of students make the daily trek from Dublin’s bordering counties, and sometimes even further afield.

(Source: Wikipedia)

According to data from the 2011 census, 15,966 students were travelling for between 45 and 50 minutes to get to college each day.  Some 18,711 were undertaking a journey that took between an hour and 90 minutes, and over 8,500 were making trips of more than an hour and a half.

I am a student who travels to the city centre from Navan and home again each day. This is by no means the longest commute faced by any student in the country, but it still entails a bus trip of around an hour and 15 minutes in light traffic, and up to two hours in rush hour conditions.  Some days I spend longer on the bus than in lectures.

Between getting up early, waiting in the cold for public transport and missing out on a lot of the social activities that make up so much of the classic college experience, it would appear that commuting is a lifestyle of many downsides and very few upsides.  However, there is nothing to be gained from moaning, and you know what they say – every cloud, and all the rest of it.

Commuting is cheaper than living away from home.  In this year’s ‘Cost of Living Guide’, DIT have provided an estimate of a student’s monthly expenses.  It takes into account a number of possible expenses, including estimated rent and utility bills as well as travel, food and social life-related expenses, among others.  Monthly costs for a student living away from home come to a total of €1,222.  By contrast, expenses for a student living at home add up to €766.

(Source: Dara Boyle)

Data from the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) presents similar figures. According to these estimates, students living away from home can expect to fork out €1,048 each month, while those travelling from home are spending a comparatively small €530.

Having less financial worries means, in turn, that you may not have to spend as much of your time outside of college working. This can leave you with more time to spend on whatever non-college-related activities you enjoy.  More importantly, however – at least in the context of this conversation – it can mean more time to study and work on assignments, leading to a less stressful, hectic college experience.

It can sometimes seem that all those hours spent trundling across the country on your way to college and home again are effectively lost.  It’s tempting to while away this time listening to music, staring out the window, and reloading your Facebook feed a thousand times.

However, these monotonous journeys could be seen as hundreds of combined hours of potentially productive time.  During your commute, you are stuck in your seat for the duration of the journey, so you might decide to study for an upcoming exam, make a dent in an assignment, or tackle that dull book you borrowed from the college library and haven’t read yet.

Sure, there are more comfortable environments to study in than jammed against the window of a bus or train carriage full of crying babies and people shouting into phones, but you may find it easier to focus here than somewhere with alternative things to do.

Another, perhaps ironic, result of living at home is that it can have a positive effect on attendance. Even as an adult, a certain level of accountability comes with living in your parent’s house, and having them constantly questioning why you’re at home so much can push you to get out of bed and head into college on days when you may otherwise have decided that whatever lecture you have that morning wasn’t going to have much of an effect on your degree.


Also, the fact that you’ve committed to the daily slog of travelling a long distance, can act as a motivator when the time comes to put your head down and get some work done. There is a sense of satisfaction to be gained from knowing you covered all those miles for a reason.

Living a long way from college tends to mean less adventurous nights out, meaning you will be in better shape in the mornings, and will be able to get up and out without feeling like you’ve just been exhumed from your grave and dumped on the bus.

Finally, having a long journey to make forces you into the habit of getting up early.  As the saying goes – ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.’ Sadly, commuting to college doesn’t seem to have endowed me with any of these three qualities, but there is certainly something to be said for developing the discipline to get out of bed on a pitch dark, cold winter morning.

Happy travels.

AIRBNB – Great for Tourists, Bad for Neighbours?

By John Smith

A ruling has been upheld by An Bord Pleanála stating that a Temple Bar apartment owner must apply for planning permission if they are to continue to rent out their property on the popular short-term letting site Airbnb.

Airbnb Logo.png
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The case was brought by the Temple Bar Residents Association which highlighted security and disturbance issues caused by the renting of the property, due to the frequent comings and goings of both renters and service staff.

An Bord Pleanála decided that the property had undergone a material change of use due to its Airbnb activity and was therefore not exempt from planning regulations.

After the ruling, Simon Coveney, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, said that there is a lack of clarity around the role Airbnb plays in the property market and this needs to be addressed.

Laws and regulations surrounding Airbnb have been a topic of conversation a lot recently, due to the sudden increase in popularity of the site for holiday-renters.

Earlier this year, a law was introduced in Berlin forbidding the commercial, short-term letting of apartments to tourists without a city permit. This followed concerns over increased rents and a growing housing shortage in the German capital.

Dublin The Temple Bar
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Cities in the United States such as New York, Santa Monica and San Francisco are clamping down on the use of the site by implementing strict regulations for short-term rentals.

Personally, I welcome any laws and regulations put in place by cities and countries that strengthen the framework surrounding Airbnb and thus increase safety and fairness for all those directly and indirectly affected by Airbnb.

That being said, I would be against any lawmakers that try to ban Airbnb altogether.

While safety, noise et cetera are definitely concerns, there are also many advantages to Airbnb, such as the increased number of tourists it brings, who then spend their money in local businesses, adding to the growth of the economy.

As someone who uses Airbnb multiple times a year, I feel more good comes from it than bad.

Hopefully local and national governments can come together with Airbnb to ensure that certain procedures are put in place that can benefit everyone rather than a small few.

Opinion: “Anthony Foley was a Heroic Leader”

By Harry Hatton

While I was trying to digest the shocking news of the death of Munster head coach Anthony Foley on Sunday, October 16, there was one clip on television that struck a chord with me.

It was from back in 2006 on a day that Munster confirmed themselves as serious players in European rugby. A joyous Munster team gathered on the podium erected on the field at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff waiting for their captain to lift the Heineken Cup.

(Source: Wikimedia) 

The captain was none other than Anthony ‘Axel’ Foley. I was almost 12 when Munster won their first European Cup and my only recollection from that match was when Peter Stringer deceived the Biarritz defence by crossing for a try from the blind side following a scrum.

I had completely forgotten that Foley was Munster’s captain on that memorable afternoon in Cardiff. On a team filled with iconic players such as Paul O’Connell, Ronan O’Gara and John Hayes, Foley was chosen as the leader of a heroic group of men.

In that clip, Foley grins and raises his arms up and down to get his teammates and the Munster spectators in the stands ready for the province’s crowning moment. It was in that instance that I realised what Munster, Ireland and the wider rugby world had lost.

The days that followed were incredibly tough for all associated with the great number eight. There was a moving tribute by Munster fans at the gates of Racing 92’s home ground, the French club that Munster were due to play on the day that Foley passed away.

The Munster support had travelled to see their beloved club in action, but instead they were gathered together in a rendition of ‘The Fields of Athenry’ in mourning at the loss of one of the club’s most famous sons.

As the week progressed, it didn’t get any easier for those associated with Foley to come to terms with his sudden death. Captain Peter O’Mahony bowed his head while speaking to the press ahead of the European encounter with Glasgow, trying to keep his motions intact only days after losing his coach and mentor.

On the eve of Foley’s funeral, hordes of Munster fans lined the streets outside Thomond Park as the hearse with his remains drove slowly past. The Munster fans showed their outstanding strength in unity by singing one of their club anthems ‘There Is An Isle’ before breaking into a round of applause as the hearse drove by in the October night.

It was one surprise that Munster’s game with Glasgow went ahead just a day after Foley’s funeral and another surprise the performance that they delivered in honour of their head coach. The home side hammered their Scottish opponents by 21 points despite Keith Earls’ red card in the first half.

(Source: Wikimedia)

It seemed that no matter what team stood in front of Munster last Saturday, there was no way they were not going to win. The Munster players and supporters had endured enough loss without suffering more on the field.

I will be interested in the months ahead to see how Munster cope in the absence of Foley. Will they be able to channel their hurt and frustration into positive energy on the field of play? Or will the loss of such an inspirational figure leave them mentally vulnerable?

There have been instances in the past where teams have responded to tragic loss to achieve great success. Tyrone footballer Cormac McAnallen died in 2004 as a result of a heart condition, a year after he helped his county to their maiden All-Ireland football title.

McAnallen’s teammates reacted to his tragic passing by claiming the Sam Maguire for a second time. That was the holy grail for that Tyrone team.

Munster’s holy grail is the Champions Cup, formerly known as the Heineken Cup, and is a competition that the province has won twice in the past.

If Munster were to claim the trophy for a third time in the near future, as unlikely as it may seem, there is no doubt that the success will be dedicated to one man and one man only, the legendary Anthony Foley.