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Skin of Man, Heart of Beast Review

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A tight-knit community which hides secrets beneath the surface — right-wing political affiliations, drunkenness and suicide. And it all crumbles when confronted with murder.

★★★★★

There’s enough in Hélène Angel’s feature debut to suggest it’s Twin Peaks with a heavy dose of realism and a psychotic edge.

It takes place in a small town set in idyllic French countryside, but with a sex club nearby. It features a tight-knit community which hides secrets beneath the surface — right-wing political affiliations, drunkenness and suicide. And it will crumble when confronted with murder.

The story centres on three brothers — Frankie, a thug-cop on forced vacation; Coco, a violent nut who’s been missing for 15 years; and quiet but untrustworthy Alex. The awkwardness between them creates a tense atmosphere that spreads through the film and, as Coco’s mental breakdown becomes more apparent, makes for uneasy viewing. Here ugliness and beauty, guilt and innocence go hand in hand.