So Help Me God (2017)

What, exactly, are we watching here? A documentary, surely? Everything points that way in this remarkable portrait of Brussels examining magistrate Anne Gruwez, and the sometimes grisly, sometimes comic, sometimes heartbreaking human stories that she is forced to deal with, and pass judgement on, day after day. But there’s a certain tongue-in-cheek insouciance that has us reaching for Google after the end credits just to check that Gruwez really does the job she’s credited with in the film. She does.

But if So Help Me God feels at times like a mockumentary rather than a documentary, and if the occasional audience-testing shock tactic […] is in dubious taste, in the end style and subject achieve a near perfect match. Anyone who has spent much time with people who come into contact on a daily basis with human depravity know that irony and gallows humour are common defence mechanisms, and in this respect [Jean] Libon and [Yves] Hinant’s breezy fly on the wall technique and lack of solemnity only serve to illuminate the courage and emotional intelligence that lurks behind this front-line magistrate’s disarming badinage. […] An engaging, compelling and surprising ride, the film is given dramatic backbone by a cold-case investigation Gruwez picks out of the files.

Lee Marshall, Screen Daily

  • Orig. title: Ni Juge, Ni Soumise
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Distribution: The Bureau Sales
  • Cinematography: Didier Hill-Derive
  • Editing: Françoise Tourmen