'Killing Of Sacred Deer' Ties For Best Screenplay At Cannes

May 31, 2017

Director Yorgos Lanthimos and writer Efthymis Filippou shared the best screenplay award for "The Killing Of A Sacred Deer" with Lynne Ramsay for "You Were Never Really Here" at the Cannes Film Festival.

Nicole Kidman – who shot "Sacred Deer" with Colin Farrell and Alicia Silverstone in Cincinnati late last summer – also was given a "Special 70th Anniversary Prize" at Cannes.

The reaction to "Sacred Deer" ranged from boos to five stars from Raphael Abraham of the Financial Times and four (of five) stars from Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian.

Joey Nolfi of Entertainment Weekly explained why some audience members booed after the May 22 premiere:

"Booing at Cannes is as much a tradition as the festival itself, and its reaches know no bounds, as Nicole Kidman found out Monday morning upon the premiere of 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer.'

"When a film polarizes crowds... it’s not uncommon for festival-goers to vent their disapproval as the credits roll, and this year, Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest joined an elite group of titles to have elicited the disdain of Cannes attendees," he wrote.

In the thriller, Farrell plays a cardiac surgeon whose relationship with a sinister teen (Irish actor Barry Keoghan, "Stay," "Traders") has a disastrous impact on his wife (Kidman) and their two children. Lanthimos won an Oscar in February for best original screenplay for "The Lobster."

Abarham called "Sacred Deer" a "full-blown psychological horror" that "will no doubt appall many and upset all, but this is a gripping and off-kilter horror of operatic grandeur, twisted humor and unabashed seriousness."

Bradshaw wrote  that this is a "bizarre, disquieting tale" about a "successful professional man and his beautiful wife and family, all of them coming apart at the seams in the face of a voodoo menace."

Variety critic Peter Debruge said: "Quiet at first, but increasingly unnerving, until such point that its protagonist (hardly a hero) must make an unthinkable choice, the film presents itself as a darkly comic horror-thriller, but takes us to a place far more insidious than we could’ve bargained for. This is an art film, after all, and though Lanthimos is within his rights to challenge and provoke, his seemingly cold-hearted approach to an impossible conundrum makes for an undeniably tough sit. However, because it stars Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman as its central couple, the film stands a real chance at finding an audience…"

Kristen Schlotman, Film Cincinnati executive director, said after attending the Cannes premiere that "Cincinnati was the star" of  the movie. "The locations were unbelievable. There's no denying it was filmed right here in Cincinnati," she said in a media release.

A limited theatrical run has been announced for Nov. 3, so the movie will be eligible for Oscar consideration, Variety said.