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Empire | 'Custody' Review

Empire

Essentially a continuation of his Oscar-nominated short, Just Before Losing Everything (2013), Xavier Legrand's feature debut is a simmering study of domestic abuse that combines stark Dardennesque realism with cues drawn from pictures as different as Robert Benton's Kramer vs Kramer (1979) and Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). Dispensing with a score and using ambient sound to ratchet up the tension, this is an object lesson in stylistic restraint that only misses its step during the nerve-shredding denouement.

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