Custody (15)

Custody (15)

Directed by Xavier Legrand
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 13th April 2018

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

This is a very observational depiction of the consequences of domestic violence in this debut feature by Xavier Legrand. The term itself is insufficient to indicate the level of full-blooded violence and mental torment it can inflict on who is usually the female partner of a disintegrating marriage or partnership.

The woman in question in this film, set in France, is Miriam (Lea Drucker) whose spouse Antione (Denis Menochet) refuses to acknowledge that their relationship is permanently broken, which increases his anger and resentment against her.

Custody opens with the couple attending a session with a family lawyer (Saadia Beataieb), accompanied by their lawyers.

Antione, much to Miriam’s dismay, is given custody of his young son, Julien (Thomas Gioria), along with her. The judge grants him weekend visitations of the boy.

In later scenes the 12-year-old is clearly peeved at having to spend time with his father, who he clearly dislikes.

His torment and anger of being a pawn between his two parents is impressively acted with his facile expressions being memorable.

These are often shown in car journeys with Antione. The confines of the vehicle become symbolic of the claustrophobic relationship between father and son.

The tension in the drama is increasingly ratcheted up until it reaches a not unsurprisingly manic climax.

NERVE supports workers struggling for a living wage.

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