Trying to understand the inner workings of woman’s mind has never been a superpower I have possessed and after watching Justine Triet’s triumphant murder mystery masterpiece Anatomy of a Fall I am nowhere closer to going the Avengers than I was before. Sandra Hüller who brilliantly portrays the successful author, mother, wife and murder suspect Sandra finds herself having to navigate an unimaginable nightmare after her seeing impaired son, Daniel, finds his father after he has fallen to his death from an attic window of their French chateau.
The two and a half hours that make up Anatomy of a Fall focuses more on Sandra and her husband Samuel’s marriage falling apart more than the literal fall in the movie’s title. The film begins as Samuel is in the attic working on some home renovations and Sandra is being interviewed downstairs about her most recent novel. Samuel begins to play an instrumental version of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” over and over and louder and louder until it is impossible for the interviewer to do her job. Sandra doesn’t give into Samuel’s passive aggressiveness and insist the interview continue. The journalist makes plans for the two meet up in town at a later date and drives away as the steel drums of “P.I.M.P.” shakes the rearview mirror as if a T-Rex from Jurassic Park is near by.
Once Daniel returns with the family dog, Snoop, and finds his father laying in pool of his blood the film quickly turns into a court room drama where ever aspect of the couple’s relationship is investigated in great detail. Throughout the trial so called experts of which have never met the couple as a whole are called one by one to testify more on behalf of Samuel not being capable of committing suicide than of Sandra not being able to commit murder. The journalist who interviewed Sandra the day Samuel fell and Samuel’s therapist were both called to testify despite having never met both Sandra and Samuel.
Unlike courtroom dramas of the past, Triet withholds nothing from the audience outside of the answer to the question “did she or did she not?” The puzzle is there to be solved and if you are looking for a clear cut answer to the question you might be better off just watching a Law & Order marathon. Triet slowly and meticulously reveals details that could answer the whodunit query but as the lights in the theater turn on the viewer is left to play detective to sort out what they truly believed happened.
Hüller gives arguably the best performance by an actress this year and should be a shoo-in come award season. Antoine Reinartz, who portrays the prosecutor looking to put Sandra behind bars, is exceptional in his role and should be a lock for some top nominations as well as Triet and her partner Arthur Harari for their screenplay.
Anatomy of a Fall won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and is playing in theaters now.
Steven McCash is the Lead Music Writer and Utility Man for SoBros Network. Steven is the host of the ‘Drinking With…’ podcast, and the pioneer of New Music Friday, highlighting each week’s new releases in the world of music in addition to the occasional live show review. He also pitches in as a Nashville lifestyle writer and football analyst (hence the ‘Utility Man’ title). Follow on Twitter: @MC_Cash75
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