The Dardenne brothers’ take on a detective story is highly introverted and moves with a quiet confidence befitting of its heroine – however it lets itself down with an underwhelming resolution and the subsequent lack of narrative or emotional payoff.
Adèle Haenel bears the film on her shoulders as a doctor trying to discover who killed a young girl, for whose death the community is collectively guilty.
Haenel explores the intriguing duality in Jenny, as her steely determination and strength as a community pillar is juxtaposed with the vulnerability caused by her guilt – and the men unafraid of physically intimidating her.
The Unknown Girl sporadically threatens to burst into life and become riveting, though it seems content to chug along as a classy and mildly diverting mystery.
CAST: Adèle Haenel, Jérémie Renier, Olivier Bonnaud
DIRECTORS: Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne
WRITERS: Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne
SYNOPSIS: Doctor Jenny (Haenel) attempts to discover the identity of a girl who is murdered after she refuses her treatment.
The Unknown Girl was screened In Competition at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.