Anatomy of a Fall has already earned plenty of praise this film season, snagging the Palme d'Or, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, back in May.

Now, it's making its way stateside to ensnare audiences in its taut and twisty web. When Samuel Maleski (Samuel Theis) is found dead beneath his French chalet, his wife, Sandra (Sandra Hüller) emerges as the prime suspect in a murder case, despite her protestations that it was an accident or suicide. The only witness is their blind son, Daniel (Milo Machado Graner), who must make up his own mind as to whether his mother is guilty as she endures a harrowing murder trial.

Directed and co-written by Justine Triet, the drama explores the ambiguity of our lives, the strange line between reality and fiction, and the emotional toll of not fully knowing the truth. As the film takes us from Samuel's death to the investigation to the lengthy trial a full year later, it asks the audience to serve as judge and jury. Just as Daniel must decide what he believes, so, too, must we. As the film says, it's impossible to live with the uncertainty, so one must make up their own mind. Because Triet refuses to do it for us.

Anatomy of a Fall

Samuel Theis, Sandra Hüller, and Milo Machado Graner in 'Anatomy of a Fall' | CREDIT: NEON

With its Hitchcockian premise and our steady contemporary diet of shocking premium cable series and thrillers like Gone Girl, viewers will likely expect a twist ending, but Triet is more interested in letting audiences sit in the not knowing. It's a powerful, if somewhat frustrating choice, and feels utterly European in its satisfaction with no pat resolution. Her camera offers a similar ambiguity that tracks the emotional gauntlet of her characters with a detached eye. The way in which Triet shoots the trial, sometimes focusing on the prosecutor or defense team, other times on those who are simply observing, is a unique take on the genre. It places the audience in the courtroom, but it never encourages us to take a side.

Hüller is the film's anchor, a star of the festival season this year with Anatomy and The Zone of Interest. As Sandra Voyter, a successful writer, known for interpolating her own life into her work, she's enigmatic and empathetic all at once. There's a steeliness to her, enough that we can never quite entirely believe her vociferous insistence on her innocence. Her face is a riddle, even as she weathers difficult interrogations and breaks down at the prospect of her son's mistrust.