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Film Review – Anatomy Of A Fall

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I was fortunate enough to get advance screening tickets for Anatomy Of A Fall or Anatomie d’Une Chute as the original title has it. I had seen the trailers over the last couple of months and thought that I might enjoy it. I mean, I hardly ever stop wanging on about my love of performances like The Verdict, Runaway Jury, and Prima Facie. And, as might be gathered by the original title, Anatomy Of A Fall is mostly in French despite what the trailer tries to portray. Fortunately I’ve been a fan of foreign films for decades and subtitles hold no fear for me!

Anatomy Of A Fall tells the story of Sandra Voyter (Sandra Hüller) and Samuel Maleski (Samuel Theis) who live in isolated chalet with their son Daniel (Milo Machado Graner) and his dog Snoop (Messi). Both Sandra and Samuel are writers but Samuel has been homeschooling Daniel since an accident damaged his eyesight. The film starts with Daniel giving Snoop a bath while Sandra is downstairs being interviewed by a student, Zoé Solidor (Camille Rutherford). Sandra is flirting with Zoé and drinking wine. The interview has to halt when Samuel starts playing very loud music in another part of the house.

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I Did Not Kill Him

Zoé waves to Sandra, leaves and sees Daniel and Snoop going out for a walk. We go for a walk with the boy and his dog and when they get back they find Samuel lying in a pool of blood underneath the window of the room he had been working in. Daniel screams and hugs his father, his mother runs out and calls the emergency services. There is a flurry of activity and we get to the autopsy room. There are photos taken of the body and measurements taken of the wounds. There is no definitive decision as to the cause of death and we go into the opening credits.

When we come back we meet an old friend of Sandra’s, Vincent Renzi (Swann Arlaud) who just happens to be a defence lawyer. Vincent leaps into action and starts helping Sandra as much as he can. From here on in it is a fairly standard courtroom based drama. By that I mean gripping and enthralling as the different sides present their evidence. I did mention that I love courtroom dramas, didn’t I? I have to admit, though, that the appearance of the French defence and prosecution advocates is quite striking! They don’t wear the horsehair wigs that English barristers do but the silk robes are very fetching.

That’s Not The Point

All in all though I thoroughly enjoyed Anatomy Of A Fall. I’ve never been aware of the work of writer/director Justine Triet but I will definitely be looking out for past and future projects of hers. And I also have to admit that I didn’t recognise any of the cast. The lead, Sandra Hüller, was riveting! She is an incredible actor and, I know we’re not supposed to make much of mere physicality, but she is one of those people who are beautiful in an unconventional way! When she is flirting with Zoé (to my mind Camille Rutherford is equally striking) there is a charm and allure which is quite captivating.

But Anatomy Of A Fall is unusual in that it is not what you might normally call a thriller, there are no car chases or highly choreographed fights, but it still manages to be real edge of the seat stuff Obviously any courtroom drama has to have an outcome and there is no way I’m going to say what the verdict is. I will just say that it was excellently done and I was guessing to the end! A beautifully shot film, of an intriguing story, set in a lovely location, and performed by a skilled group of actors both two and four legged!

Movie Grade: A

 

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