The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Films

A Simple Plan (15)

Cult horror director Sam Raimi makes a dramatic entry into the mainstream with this chilling, snowbound thriller (right) about a $4m windfall that brings nothing but ill. Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton star.

Happiness (18)

Set in New Jersey, Todd Solondz's second film is a dark comedy of loneliness and sexual deviancy that reaffirms this young writer-director's talent.

Best Laid Plans (15)

Brit director Mike Barker's first American movie neatly rolls a warped love story and a blackmail thriller into one, and features strong performances from Alessandro Nivola and Reese Witherspoon.

Orphans (18)

Peter Mullan's darkly comic tale of four siblings and a funeral movingly captures the emotional stresses of bereavement over the course of a storm-tossed Glaswegian night.

I Am Cuba (PG)

This amazing epic poem to the Cuban revolution of the late 1950s is a beautiful and stirring slice of agitprop cinema, imaginatively filmed and framed by the Russian director Mikhail Kalatozov. Barbican, London

Anthony Quinn