Only the Animals, dir. Dominik Moll, France-Germany 2019, 116 min. English subtitles
Franco-German director Dominik Moll returns to the territory of breakout hits Harry, He’s Here To Help (LFF 2000) and Lemming (LFF 2005) with another darkly funny thriller that explores the seamier side of middle-class life in the French countryside. Two depressive farmers, an unfaithful wife, a lovelorn waitress and an African con artist are each related in some way to the disappearance of a glamorous housewife (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi). A stylishly-shot and elegantly structured slow-burn, revealing the secret connections between fascinating and disparate characters, the film finds Moll at the height of his storytelling powers and working with his finest cast to date, including an astonishing Denis Ménochet. This compelling mystery moves expertly toward an unexpectedly moving and surprising denouement.