The Childhood of a Leader ★★★½

A 27-year-old dude from Scottsdale, Arizona, Brady Corbet has somehow become the go-to guy for major European auteurs in need of a young American who can pick up what they’re putting down. We may never fully understand how he parlayed a one-episode cameo on “The King of Queens” and a recurring appearance in the fifth season of “24” into a series of brilliant collaborations with titans of international cinema like Michael Haneke (“Funny Games”) and Lars von Trier (“Melancholia”), but it’s clear why Corbet might have a special appreciation for how public figures are often seen through the lens of their beginnings. With his unusually accomplished directorial debut “Childhood of a Leader,” Corbet delivers a strange and startling film that reflects the unique trajectory of his career, as well as the influence of the iconoclastic directors with whom he’s already worked.