Films of the week: Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston star in The Deep Blue Sea

 

Saturday

The Deep Blue Sea

11.10pm Channel 4

(Terence Davies, 2011) The mistake in adapting Terence Rattigan's 1952 play – about an eruption of passion in austerity Britain; the doomed affair between a respectably married woman (Rachel Weisz) and a boozy, boyish RAF pilot (Tom Hiddleston) – would have been to deny its theatricality. That's not a mistake that Terence Davies, a director who has repeatedly returned to the era in his films, was likely to make. This is a lush period melodrama, with cigarette smoke, received pronunciation and Barber's violin concerto all contributing to a heady atmosphere no less affecting for its artifice. ****

Sunday

California Dreamin'

12.25am Film4

(Cristian Nemescu, 2007) A train full of US marines en route to a peacekeeping mission in Sarajevo in 1999 is waylaid by the stationmaster of the kind of dusty Romanian village that doesn't even exist on their maps, and whose mayor then decides to throw a party. A brilliantly handled, bittersweet and wry comedy about America's standing in far-flung parts of the world. ****

Monday

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

12.10pm & 7.50pm Sky Movies Select

(Ken Loach, 2006) Two brothers (Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney) join the nascent IRA to fight the British troops occupying Twenties Ireland, but finish on opposing sides in the ensuing civil war. Ken Loach's historical epic could do with a little more of the human interest that so completely suffuses his best films, but it is still a rich, thoughtful drama. ****

Tuesday

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

9pm Film4

(Tomas Alfredson, 2011) With its grey-brown palette, all GPO telephones, manila folders and cigarette ash, Tomas Alfredson's subdued but evocative period piece precisely matches the tenor of John Le Carré's unglamorous Cold War spy novel, which is all about civil servants and bureaucracy, office politics and moral compromise. Gary Oldman stars. *****

Wednesday

Martha Marcy May Marlene

2.10pm & 11.50pm Sky Movies Drama & Romance

(Sean Durkin, 2011) This US indie film cuts between a damaged young woman's involvement with an agrarian sex cult, and the days after she has made her escape, when she is living with her estranged sister but still behaving erratically. Contrasting various forms of indoctrination and socialisation, it is an intense, unnerving psychological drama, focused by Elizabeth Olsen's magnetic central performance. ****

Thursday

Another Year

9pm Film4

(Mike Leigh, 2010) Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen play a contented couple in their late middle age around whose welcoming London townhouse orbit various lonely souls and crushed spirits. The film's scenes – shared lunches, a barbecue, a funeral – span a year in their lives, but it's an autumnal mood which prevails. The drama is muted, but Leigh demonstrates his mastery of the cinema of small moments. ****

Friday

Enter the Dragon

10pm Sky Movies Greats (Robert Clouse, 1973)

Bruce Lee is asked by the British government to enter a martial arts tournament so as to infiltrate the lair of a renegade Shaolin monk suspected of opium trafficking. The sub-Bond plot of his one Hollywood film is lame, but Lee's screen presence and superlative fight choreography mean that it remains the undefeated champion of martial arts cinema. *****

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