Anatomy of a Fall | Review by: Benjamin Garrett
Anatomy of a Fall is a perfectly paced, superbly acted courtroom drama, elevated far beyond genre standards by its brilliant dissection of a marriage. You’ll be dragged along through a gruelling trial to uncover the truth, but this is about so much more than a guilty or innocent verdict.
The film wisely avoids taking a concrete stance on the trial, nor does it present you with enough evidence to form a definitive verdict of your own. No, much like an actual investigation, it offers up a puzzling collection of various theories and facts supporting both sides. Although the story is framed around Sandra Hüller’s character, and the fight to prove her innocence, she’s never painted as a villain or protagonist.
Justine Triet is firing on all cylinders from a writing and directorial standpoint. Not only is her script filled with sharp, immersive dialogue, but she makes a number of subtle yet inventive visual choices as well. A lot of the framing and camera work is exceptional. There’s a scene where Sandra speaks about a difficult, personal topic that involves her son, and instead of cutting to his reaction, the scene is framed from behind his head in the courtroom audience. We don’t need to see his expression to feel his discomfort, and it’s more affecting because of it.
Being centred around a lengthy trial, this is a dialogue heavy two and a half hours. Thankfully, the performances measure up to the excellent script. Sandra Hüller is a revelation, deserving of a best actress nomination for her emotional yet stoic turn. Antoine Reinartz is also excellent as the ruthless prosector, savagely tearing through this woman’s life, hellbent on a murder conviction. It’s the young Milo Machado Graner who truly floored me, though. It’s heartbreaking watching a child thrown into the middle of an ugly legal battle, but Graner captures that feeling flawlessly.
Anatomy of a Fall sinks its hooks into you with a shocking death, but truly captivates with its merciless deconstruction of a marriage. Sharply written, beautifully shot and exceptionally acted, this is a strong contender for the best film of the year.
Review by: Benjamin Garrett
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