Luce (2019)

Julius Onah direct Kelvin Harrison Jnr., Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts in this racially charged drama mystery where a fastidious teacher suspects a star student of bad intentions.

A difficult film – erudite, risky, unpredictable. It does feel stagey – the source material is a J.C. Lee play. Is it a thriller? A teen drama? A didactic discussion about race? Obviously it can be all three at once yet, like it’s eponymous protagonist, you never feel like anyone has a proper grip on what Luce is. This slipperiness can be a power. Luce shares a lot of DNA with Highsmith’s Ripley and John Guare’s Six Degrees of Seperation. I liked it but Luce the movie isn’t an easy digestible experience, it certainly feels a little more academic than satisfying.

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