Netflix has bagged Thomas M. Wright’s tense Cannes thriller The Stranger and will premiere it globally in October.

The Australian drama had its world premiere in the Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival this year, where Deadline critic Anna Smith said it revealed “quietly compelling insight” about the nature of police work.

The film will premiere in Australia at the Melbourne International Film Festival today and have a local theatrical release, before launching on Netflix worldwide (excluding Italy, Benelux, Portugal, Greece, Israel and the Middle East).

Produced by See-Saw Films, Anonymous Content and Blue Tongue Films, whose founder Joel Edgerton stars alongside Sean Harris, the film is based around two strangers who strike up a conversation on a long journey. One is a suspect in an unsolved missing person’s case and the other the undercover operative on his trail. Their uneasy friendship becomes the core of the tightly wrought thriller, which is based on the true story of one of the largest investigations and undercover operations in Australia.

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Writer/director Wright said: “With The Stranger, I wanted to make a psychological crime film that took audiences into a place that is hidden — a film that was authentic and realistic in its detail, but also immersive and cinematic. A film that demanded attention and investment. A film that an audience could lean into — and fall into.

“I centered the film on people who didn’t know the victim, but who devoted years of their lives – and their mental and physical health – to them; because though violence is the reason for this film, it is not its subject. Its subject is the connections between people. That means that, for me, this is a film defined by empathy.”

He added: “For an independent Australian film to premiere in the Official Selection in Cannes, and then be brought to the largest audience anywhere as a Netflix film, is unprecedented. We couldn’t be more proud of this film and to be partnering with Netflix to release it to an international audience.”

Producers on the film are Rachel Gardner, See-Saw’s Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, Blue Tongue’s Edgerton; and Anonymous Content’s Kim Hodgert and Kerry Kohansky-Roberts. Executive Producers are See-Saw’s Simon Gillis, Rocket Science’s Thorsten Schuhmacher, Lars Sylvest, Trinity Media Financing’s Morgan Emmery and Jean-Charles Levy.

Edgerton is represented by Anonymous Content, WME, Shanahan, and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum. Harris is represented by B-Side Management and Management 360.

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