The only Irish representative in competition at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, Element Pictures and director Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer, premiered for critics at the prestigious festival this morning to wide applause (and some boos). The vast majority of film critics on Twitter were quick to praise the film for its dark tone, black humour, and the performances of  leads Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, and Barry Keoghan.

Donald Clarke – Irish Times

Guy Lodge – Variety

Tim Robey – Telegraph

Joe Utichi – Deadline

Steven Zeitchik – LA Times

Douglas Greenwood – I_D

Alicia Malone – Fandango

Antonio Maria Abate – Cineblog.it

The film is a psychological thriller with supernatural elements that follows a young man that needs to take revenge, a doctor that has to make a decision, and his family that must survive.

The Lobster star Farrell plays the doctor, with Kidman as his wife. The film also features star-on-the-rise Keoghan (Mammal), Raffey Cassidy (Tomorrowland), Sunny Suljic (The Unspoken), Bill Camp (12 Years a Slave), and Alicia Silverstone (Clueless).

Lanthimos directs and writes The Killing of a Sacred Deer, with his The Lobster co-writer Efthimis Fillipou. He is also working with Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe of Element Pictures, and David Kosse of Film4, whom he collaborated with on The Lobster. The film is backed by Film4 and New Sparta Films, under a partnership arrangement brokered by Hanway Films, and supported by the Irish Film Board.

A24 will distribute The Killing of a Sacred Deer in the US, with Haut et Court distributors from France. Element Pictures Distribution will handle the Irish release, with Curzon Artifical Eye releasing in the UK.

Speaking in Cannes, IFB Chief Executive James Hickey said:

The Cannes Market is one of the largest film markets in the world so it is hugely important to the Irish film industry in terms of raising finance for up-and-coming productions and ensuring Irish films sell to international territories across the world. I’m also delighted to see that the critics’ reaction to The Killing of a Sacred Deer is so overwhelmingly positive. I’m particularly pleased to see Barry Keoghan breakthrough as a major international star to watch and I would like to congratulate Ireland’s Element Pictures, undisputedly now one of the world’s leading production companies, on their return to Competition in Cannes in the space of two years, following the 2015 success of The Lobster and an Oscar nomination for Room in between.

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