First They Killed My Father ★★★★½

Fourth time's the charm. I've veered from vaguely, unenthusiastically admiring the directorial work of Angelina Jolie (In the Land of Blood and Honey) to outright hating it (By the Sea), but other than a very terrible opening montage and a highly dubious final shot, there's not much to find fault with in her portrayal of the Khmer Rouge atrocities through the eyes of a five-year-old girl. An impressionistic film rather than a documentary one, the film never drifts away from its protagonist's highly limited understanding of the world, up to and including her fluid sense of time, and the result is a depiction of barbarity that gets the point across without needing to bludgeon us over the head about it. A message picture through and through, but just about the very best kind of message picture, one that implies rather than harangues, and still functions first and foremost as a complex cinematic object.