Review: The Unknown Girl (Jean-Pierre Dardenne/Luc Dardenne, 2016)

When your batting average is so high, it can be the case that the slightest dip in quality is overstated as something far more troubling than it actually is. This was seemingly the case with the Dardenne brothers at this year’s Cannes, where their latest film, The Unknown Girl, received a considerably more lukewarm response than the likes of Two Days, One Night and The Kid with a Bike, with some suggestions that the Belgian duo had finally reached a stage of auto-pilot writing and directing and others implying that the new film was their first outright failure. It’s since been re-edited post-Cannes, and this is the cut that’s making its way to cinemas and streaming.

So does The Unknown Girl, in this form, constitute an actual outright failure for the fine filmmakers? Short answer: no. However, there’s the less severe question as to whether it does still constitute something below par in relation to their back catalogue. And the answer to that question is yes. But when you’re responsible for some of the best dramas to come out of mainland Europe in the last decade, and your new film happens to be just merely decent, that’s hardly a cause for calls of crisis…

Full review for VODzilla.co

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