THE FIRST TIME we see Samuel Maleski (Samuel Theis), he is lying in the snow outside his home, blood pooling at his head. Across French director Justine Triet’s mystery Anatomy of a Fall, the cause of Samuel’s untimely death will be debated ad nauseam. Was it suicide? Or was it murder?
Samuel’s wife, Sandra (Sandra Hüller), a successful writer, becomes the state’s prime suspect, and his 11-year-old son Daniel (Milo Machado Graner), who has limited vision, is the only witness. Viewed through the lens of a whodunit courtroom procedural, one might expect the film to track the facts to a clear truth. But as lawyers and experts atomize the scene — a spatter of blood here, an open window there — a lack of physical evidence pushes the prosecution to lean on emotional appeals, building a case for murder around the circumstances of Samuel and Sandra’s flailing marriage.