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Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) plays around with the malleability of narrative in this Canadian drama about a high school student (Devon Bostick) whose school essay about his late father, a Lebanese terrorist, raises hackles in his small-town community. The young protagonist spends a lot of time staring at a laptop screen divided into checkerboards of human faces as he and his friends and neighbors discuss the essay in a chat room; the true story of what his father did to his mother years earlier is comparably fractured, and the slow assembly of it seems to concern Egoyan more than any political question. Scott Speedman gives a piercing, intelligent performance as the boy's uncle, who now has custody of him; Arsinee Khanjian is saddled with a more melodramatic role as the French teacher who goaded the boy into writing the essay and is now caught up in the scandal. R, 101 min.

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