Friday 15 March 2024

Anatomy of a Fall [2023]

 Riveting, piercingly intelligent and tantalizingly orchestrated, Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall had multiple thematic elements woven into its gradually unfolding narrative – marital decay to the point of mutual damage; the penchant for conflating art with the artist; blurring of lines between fact and fiction in autofictions where the former shapes the latter; the glaring pitfalls of confirmation bias, be it in personal spaces or forensic analyses – thus expanding it beyond a courtroom thriller. The captivating opening scene, where Sandra (Sandra Hüller) – a successful German novelist who lives with her French husband (Samuel Theis) and their visually-impaired 11-year-old son (Milo Machado-Graner), at an isolated chalet in the French Alps – gets awkwardly disrupted by the blasting sounds of an edgy and enrapturing instrumental composition by 50 Cent played by her husband in another room, while engaging in a flirtatious banter with a young female interviewer. Shortly after the interview ends, the husband is found dead on the snow. Did he die on account of an accidental fall or was it a suicidal act or was he pushed by Sandra? If the latter, did she do it on an impulse or was it premeditated, and what was the motive for it? A stunning pivotal scene towards the end, wherein a conversation between the couple explodes into a violent confrontation – reminiscent of a similarly explosive sequence in Marriage Story – delivered a clinical dissection on the subjectivity of laying blame, and provided the icing on Hüller’s ferocious turn. Her deliciously enigmatic performance, in fact, made it impossible to assign culpability. The courtroom proceedings were sharply etched too, thanks to an intelligent script co-written by Triet and Arthur Harari, who’re ironically live-in partners.

Director: Justine Triet

Genre: Drama/Legal Drama/Marital Drama

Language: French/English

Country: France

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