British actor Paddy Considine makes a powerful and intense directorial debut with the story of a self-destructive man and his relationship with a charity shop worker.
The film has earned plaudits since its world premiere at the Sundance Festival and although the dark moments and strong language may appear a handicap, it is thoughtful and challenging and driven by brilliant performances by Peter Mullan and Olivia Colman.
Mullan is Joseph, a lonely, unemployed drunk who one day staggers into the shop run by middle- class housewife Hannah (Colman, most recently seen as the vicar’s wife in Tom Hollander’s excellent TV comedy series Rev).
Hannah refuses to rise to Joseph’s bitter, sardonic taunts and although he’s dismissive of her Christianity, good nature and desire to help, he begrudingly starts to have respect for her.
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What he doesn’t know is that this sweet, caring woman is being abused by her husband (Eddie Marsan) and her life is anything but perfect.
At Joseph’s house he talks about his late wife. His joke name for her was ‘Tyrannosaurus’, describing her as a big woman who made a lot of noise climbing the stairs, causing a vibration that made the tea in his cup quiver – just like the Tyrannosaurus Rex in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park.
Mullan plays his unsympathetic character with power and magnetism, while Colman’s terrific portrayal of one of suburbia’s many unseen, unheard victims sticks in the mind.
> Rebellious teen Nathan (Taylor Lautner) goes on the run when he discovers the couple who raised him aren’t his real parents in lacklustre thriller ABDUCTION (12: Lionsgate).
His biological father is a covert government spy whose enemies pursue Nathan across the US with a view to holding him to ransom until dad gives up a file documenting a hierarchy of underworld assassins – and possibly bad apples in the corridors of power.
What follows is a run-of-the-mill game of cat and mouse, peppered with underwhelming chase sequences and a flimsy plot in danger of unravelling at any moment.
Young fans of the Twilight franchise may swoon at Lautner’s bare chest and brooding, but his performance is astonishingly wooden.
He’s upstaged at every turn by crime lord Michael Nyqvist (from the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and its sequels), while Alfred Molina and Sigourney Weaver sleepwalk through their supporting roles as ambiguous CIA operatives.
> David Nicholls adapts the script from his best-selling novel for ONE DAY (12: Universal), but he finds less time for the nostalgia and modern angst that gave the book its epic sweep.
Yet it still works quite well as a romantic yarn, with director Lone Scherfig (An Education) breezily grabbing moments between university graduation in 1988 and one fateful day in 2011 to stir up the frustration of missed opportunities.
Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, as friends Emma and Dexter, engage in plenty of witty banter to counter the brooding as the movie muses on the possibility of something more than friendship between them.
> While 1984 hit teen movie FOOTLOOSE (12: Paramount) may not have needed the remake treatment, this update is surprisingly nowhere near as bad as expected.
Kenny Wormald nimbly steps into Kevin Bacon’s iconic shoes as Ren MacCormack, a city boy who moves to a southern town where dancing has been outlawed by community leaders.
Ren’s bid to get the ban overturned sees him fall foul of the stern Reverend Moore (Dennis Quaid), while falling in love with the preacher’s daughter.
The original film’s songs have been spruced up and the eye-catching visuals and break- and country-line dancing give it all a refreshing feel.
> Quirky, melancholy drama RESTLESS (12: Sony) has the shadow of 1972 black comedy Harold And Maude hanging over it.
Two completely different characters – she’s an optimist and he’s a pessimist – meet and become lovers after gatecrashing a funeral.
But whereas Maude is a 70-something Holocaust survivor, the heroine here is a perky teen (Mia Wasikowska) with a tumour, whose carefree demeanour disguises a very real fear that she could die at any moment. Into her orbit comes an introspective loner (Dennis Hopper’s son Henry) whose best friend is Hiroshi, the ghost of a Japanese Second World War kamikaze pilot.
Gus Van Sant’s film could have worked if it had played for more substantial laughs or drama, but it’s stuck in a dreary limbo.