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Rotterdam 2016: Préjudice review

★★★☆☆ Notions of marginalisation, responsibility and the ambiguities of nature versus nurture all collide in Antoine Cuypers' handsome and austere feature debut, Préjudice. The film is built around enormously compelling performances from Thomas Blanchard and Nathalie Baye, as an antagonistic son and mother. They take the leads in a taut chamber piece that pulls at the loose threads of a family with a precision for excruciating social tension and a refusal to offer easy answers to thematic waters which in turn beget labyrinthine ethical tributaries. Both compassion and frustration are easy to justify throughout the drama - but precisely who is deserving of which remains a far murkier question.

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