Saturday 10 February 2024

Movie Review: Anatomy Of A Fall (2023)

Genre: Crime Drama  
Director: Justine Triet  
Starring: Sandra Hüller, Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado Graner  
Running Time: 152 minutes  

Synopsis: At an isolated lodge in the French Alps, writer Samuel Maleski is found dead, having suffered a blow to the head and fallen from an upper level. His German-born wife Sandra (Sandra Hüller), also a writer, was the only other person in the lodge at the time of death, but claims to have been sleeping. Prosecutors build a murder case against Sandra, who turns to her lawyer friend Vincent (Swann Arlaud) to mount a defence. Her legally blind son Daniel (Milo Machado Graner) is drawn into the case, as the trial exposes the complexities of a troubled household.

What Works Well: A meticulous study of a flawed marriage, this crime drama peels its mystery layers with deliberate care. Director and co-writer Justine Triet (with Arthur Harari) sprinkles references to events and actions that mature into major plot points, and deploys slow but assured pacing to spotlight essential revelations. The courtroom scenes dominate the second half, reaching a climax in a painful recording of a husband-and-wife argument fueled by resentment and fragile psyches. Sandra Hüller remains calm and collected at the centre of every plot twist, while young Milo Machado Graner as Daniel slowly progresses towards the story's core. 

What Does Not Work As Well: Despite the deep content and complex dynamics, the running time of 152 minutes remains excessive. A large part of Sandra's character is intentionally cold, limiting sympathy for her character's plight.

Conclusion: The husband dies, but the real autopsy is conducted on the couple's history.

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