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Character

As Character opens, a sadistic bailiff is dead — killed, it seems, by a freshly minted lawyer who’s his bastard son. Flashbacks detail the latter’s brutal youth, and for 30 minutes or so director Mike van Diem strikes a brilliant balance between freak-out expressionism and heartfelt realism. Thereafter, this Dutch period drama, which won a best foreign film Oscar, proves a logical muddle (the father’s dreams turn up in the son’s flashbacks, for instance) crammed with more plot twists than would serve a Dickens novel. C+

Character
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