Films of the week: Time out of joint in a thrilling race against the clock

 

Sunday

Source Code

9pm Channel 4

(Duncan Jones, 2011) In this high- quality, high-concept action thriller amalgamating Quantum Leap, the Philip K Dick novel Ubik, and Groundhog Day, some experimental military technology allows Jake Gyllenhaal's character to repeatedly relive the final minutes in the life of a passenger on a train on which a bomb has been planted. Which gets confusing, but the film's emotional notes still sound clear and true. ****

Saturday

The Graduate

11pm ITV3

(Mike Nichols, 1967) Dustin Hoffman was 29 when he gave his star-making performance as the nebbish recent graduate Benjamin; Anne Bancroft as his girlfriend's seductive mother, Mrs Robinson, was only six years older, but this iconic comedy perfectly describes the widening of the generation gap which was a characteristic of late-Sixties America. It has dated but is as smart as it ever was. *****

Monday

High Noon

1pm Channel 4

(Fred Zinnemann, 1952) Small- town marshall Gary Cooper endures a long night of the soul while anticipating one of cinema's most famous showdowns, with an old foe who is due to arrive on the midday train into town. Grace Kelly co-stars as his new wife, who'd like to talk him out of it. Moral enquiry and taut, expressionistic, real-time drama combine in one of the finest films about the Old West. *****

Tuesday

Brighton Rock

11.40am More4

(John Boulting, 1947) The Boulting brothers' brilliant, cruel, noir-ish Graham Greene adaptation makes fine use of its locations: it takes place, not only in a jolly pre-war seaside town but in "another Brighton of dark alleyways and festering slums"; and most of all, inside the oppressively godless and paranoid psyche of its young hoodlum antihero, Pinky (Richard Attenborough). *****

Wednesday

Tyrannosaur

10.50pm Film4

(Paddy Considine, 2011) Paddy Considine's directorial debut is part of a strong British tradition of realist drama about social deprivation. Its performances make it extraordinary. Peter Mullan makes the kind of drunk whom people would cross the street to avoid into a complicated character with a perverse dignity. Olivia Coleman plays a woman with unexpected depths, in whom he finds solace. ****

Thursday

Dreams of a Life

10pm Channel 4

(Carol Morley, 2011) In 2006, bailiffs entered a bedsit above a busy shopping centre in Wood Green, north London, to find the decomposed remains of the tenant: a 39-year-old woman whose death had gone unnoticed for three years. Part documentary reconstruction, part eulogy, this fascinating and touching film asks who she was, and why her life ended with such a sad whimper. Zawe Ashton stars. ****

Friday

Contraband

2.15pm & 10pm Sky Movies Premiere

(Baltasar Kormákur, 2012) Mark Wahlberg stars as a reformed smuggler who must do one last job in order to save his family. Contraband doesn't score many points for originality, then. In fact, it's a remake of a 2008 Icelandic film. But it's an efficient thriller, and before things become implausible in the third act, it is full of fascinating detail about modern-day large-scale smuggling operations. ***

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