The Unknown Girl (2016, Those Dardennes)

Another empathy machine from those Dardennes. I preferred this to Two Days, was more involved in the story and more impressed by the performances. Although I wasn’t too surprised when the crime finally got solved… when you cast regular Dardenne star Jérémie Renier as the dad of a possible witness to the crime in a minor scene, you can assume he’ll be coming back in a major way in the second half of the film. Supposedly this has been re-edited since Cannes, but it’s hard to imagine what that means since the scenes are mainly long takes.

“A good doctor has to control his emotions.” Jenny (Adèle Haenel of 120 BPM, House of Tolerance) is a young doctor just getting her own place, doesn’t answer the door after hours, and is told the next day that the woman trying to get in was found dead. The police tell her all they can, then she investigates by asking employees and patients if they’d seen anything, eventually figuring out that one sick kid isn’t physically ill but has made himself sick worrying since he witnessed his dad killing the girl. The movie builds up so much goodwill in its first half and through Haenel’s sensitive performance that I didn’t even mind when it turned into a mystery-thriller towards the end.