Bastards review

Not the cheeriest Valentine's Day release

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French auteur Claire Denis is no genre-hound, but this murky Parisian noir proves she’s more than capable.

Vincent Lindon (last with Denis on 2002’s Vendredi Soir ) plays Marco, an oil-tanker captain investigating the suicide of his brother-in-law Jacques.

At the same time, his niece Justine (Lola Creton) – Jacques’ teenage daughter – is found naked, dazed and injured, wandering the streets. It’s just the tip of a very ugly iceberg.

Denis’ sparse story delivers details on a need-to-know basis, right up to the finale. Strong on atmos, thanks to Tindersticks’ score, it’ll chill you to the core.

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Freelance writer

James Mottram is a freelance film journalist, author of books that dive deep into films like Die Hard and Tenet, and a regular guest on the Total Film podcast. You'll find his writings on GamesRadar+ and Total Film, and in newspapers and magazines from across the world like The Times, The Independent, The i, Metro, The National, Marie Claire, and MindFood.