In The Face of an Angel, a fictional meditation on the horrific murder of the British student Meredith Kercher in Italy in 2007, the director Michael Winterbottom has a grand time doing two things: slapping the wrists of news reporters and pontificating on the truth.
His stand-in is an apathetic Daniel Brühl, playing Thomas, a depressed filmmaker with a damaged ego and backers who are patiently awaiting a true-crime thriller. Thomas, however – thanks to a dive into Dante’s Divine Comedy – is increasingly drawn to making what one character calls a “medieval morality play.” Yet as we accompany him on his morose wanderings around Siena, it soon becomes clear that he’s in no shape to make any kind of movie at all.
Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times
In the past Michael Winterbottom has dealt brilliantly with the horrors of real-life murder (A Mighty Heart), the unpicking of a media myth (24 Hour Party People) and deconstructed the process of storytelling itself (A Cock and Bull Story). All these themes come together in his latest, a fictional work inspired by the murder of Meredith Kercher, to whom the film is dedicated. [T]he central thesis [is] that truth can only be told through fiction (…).
Mark Kermode, The Guardian