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The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Films

Get Carter (18)

Mike Hodges's gangland picture retains a seedy allure, thanks to bleak locations, spare dialogue, and a performance of near-heroic unpleasantness from Michael Caine (right).

Cruel Intentions (15)

This sly take on Les Liaisons Dangereuses is set in high society Manhattan, where Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe plan their seduction with all the cruelty of the original aristocrats.

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.

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.

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.

Anthony Quinn