Mike Hodges' gangland picture retains a seedy allure, thanks to bleak locations, spare dialogue, and a performance of near-heroic unpleasantness from Michael Caine.
A Simple Plan (15)
Cult horror director Sam Raimi makes a dramatic entry into the mainstream with this chilling, snowbound thriller about a $4m windfall that brings nothing but ill. Bill Paxton, Bridget Fonda and Billy Bob Thornton star.
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.
Peter Mullan's darkly comic tale (right) of four siblings and a funeral movingly captures the emotional stresses of bereavement over the course of a storm-tossed Glaswegian night.