The Girl With A Bracelet

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Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The Girl With A Bracelet
"This is the sort of story that will be familiar to viewers of the likes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as the lifestyle of the accused is put on trial as much as her actions." | Photo: Courtesy of London Film Festival/Matthieu Ponchel

There's a cool ambiguity to Stéphane Demoustier's French remake of Argentinian film The Accused - which sees a teenager standing trial for the murder of her friend.

The bracelet she has isn't jewellery but the tag Lise Batallie (Melissa Guers) is given to wear by police while she waits for her day in court. It's also an indication of what is going to come under scrutiny in the course of the film - not just the girl herself but what she is associated with. This is the sort of story that will be familiar to viewers of the likes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as the lifestyle of the accused is put on trial as much as her actions.

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Lise doesn't betray her emotions much in the dock as she is questioned over the murder of her friend Flora by the prosecution (the director's sister Anaïs Demoustier) and defence (Annie Mercier), allowing for us to become as involved in the mystery surrounding the killing as the jurors. Her lack of emotion becomes as much of a bugbear for everyone, from the judge to her family, as any sort of factual evidence. Demoustier balances out the more static procedural aspects with snapshots of family life outside of the courtroom. Scenes between Lise and her younger brother Jules (Paul Aïssaoui-Cuvelier), in particular, help the screenplay to come alive - "If you go to prison, can I have your room?" he asks in one of their many realistic exchanges.

There's strong support from the ever-reliable Roschdy Zem as Lise's dad Bruno, who is discovering more about his daughter each day and her mother Céline (Chiara Mastroianni), who has her own brand of froideur. The general ambivalence adds to the mystery surrounding Lise, but it also has the unfortunate side-effect of muting the tension, although Carla Pallone's string driven score does a lot to raise the emotional heat at key moments. As with most courtroom dramas, what is on trial here, is ultimately not the accused's attitude but ours.

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2020
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Courtroom drama about a teenager caught up in a murder case.

Festivals:

London 2019

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