Custody (2017)

An almost unbearably-tense, no-holds-barred drive through the nightmare of domestic terrorism, Custody is a can’t-look-away hybrid of gruelling reality and heightened cinematic technique. The mix is jarring, as intended, and this wrenching, heart-stopping film illustrates domestic violence and obsession in a way that makes the fear real. Yet the director also cites The Shining and Kramer Vs. Kramer amongst his influences, and they’re easily identified here too. This is a dynamic feature debut from France’s Xavier Legrand […].

Denis Ménochet’s bullying, paranoid Antoine is the hulking heart of Custody, but as his young son Julien, newcomer Thomas Gioria also holds his own. Ménochet, [Lea] Drucker and Gioria give their all to this chamber-like piece, which is a thematic progression of the director’s short Just Before Losing Everything. […] Nathalie Durand’s camera feels suitably oppressed in these close confines, while editor Yorgis Lamprinos has a deft command of pace as the thriller elements ratched up. While the word “exciting” doesn’t feel like the right word for such a tough drama, it’s certainly perfect as a description of Legrand’s debut as a feature-length director and original screenplay author.

Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily

  • Orig. title: Jusqu'à la garde
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Distribution: Celluloid Dreams
  • Cinematography: Nathalie Durand
  • Editing: Yorgos Lamprinos