Dheepan ★★★

A strange one in that, had it gone for the "respectable" approach, it might have been received more warmly by some, but would have (more?) quickly dissipated from memory. As is, the questionable genre segue turns it from staid arthouse fare into something genuinely bold, if not necessarily successful. The shift is actually quite good in concept, but doesn't quite land the way it should, mostly because the events leading up to it are a tad unconvincing, the psychological break necessary for it more stated than developed. Still manages some lovely moments, though, particularly in the middle stretch, which pairs off the various characters in moments of genuine tenderness. (The scenes between Brahim and "Yalini" are especially good, in part due to the underlying sense of danger; the script might have actually done well to expand Brahim's role, at least in relation to the final section.) Audiard's more disorienting effects stave off the familiarity, particularly when the smoke rolls in during the climax. Is there any question, then, about that final scene?

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