Film of the day: Childhood of a Leader

Tom Sweet in Childhood of a Leader

Visually striking and scarily assured, Brady Corbet’s debut feature is a slow-burn psychodrama chronicling the early years of a future sociopath.

After newsreel footage showing the end of the First World War and the early stages of the Versailles peace conference we meet Liam Cunningham’s US diplomat. While he’s busy working for Woodrow Wilson’s negotiating team his cold European wife (Bérénice Bejo) and young son (mightily impressive newcomer Tom Sweet) are left to stew in the family’s rural French home. Ignored by his distant, disciplinarian parents, the boy develops into an ego-driven brat whose tantrums, outbursts and all-round behaviour become increasingly unsettling.

Childhood of a Leader – Thursday at 2.15pm on Sky Cinema Premiere and Sky Cinema on demand.