A tense, thoughtful, psychological thriller as teenage A-grade student Luce (Kelvin Harrison Jnr – The Trial of the Chicago 7, It Comes at Night) plays with the emotions and conditioning of his adoptive parents.

An essay on the justification of political violence upends comfortable parenting for Naomi Watts (The Impossible, 21 Grams) and Tim Roth (The Hateful Eight, Pulp Fiction). Adopted out of an Eritrean child army, trained to shoot a gun before he could walk, Luce has received the best wealthy, suburban America can offer. But questions are now being asked – particularly by Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures, A Kid Like Jake), a school teacher who has her own agenda. Maybe Luce is not quite the potential valedictory student assumed by all.

Anchored by stellar performances, the occasionally wordy (Luce started off as a stage play by J.C.Lee) drama is full of discussion pointers as director Julius Onah (The Cloverfield Paradox, The Girl Is In Trouble) creates a minefield of beguiling assumptions, red herrings – and lies.

Rating: 77%


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