The Critics: VIDEOS

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Deep Crimson (18). Based on the same true story that inspired Leonard Kastle's 1969 The Honeymoon Killers, Mexican director Arturo Ripstein's film is a disquieting tour de force. It tracks the strange relationship between overweight nurse Coral (opera singer Regina Orozco) and toupeed gigolo Nicolas (Daniel Gimenez Cacho), who embark on a cross- country killing spree targeting women who've answered lonely-hearts ads. Nicolas, who fancies himself as a Charles Boyer lookalike, seduces them; the pathologically jealous Coral then kills them. The actors are extraordinary, bringing complexity to stock roles. Though tinged with melodrama, this is a remarkably unsentimental and unjudgemental film.

Drifting Clouds (PG). Aki Kaurismaki's films are not for impatient viewers. The rewards, however, are often more than proportionate. The Finnish director's latest is a low-key comedy about unemployment that couldn't be further from The Full Monty. A Helsinki couple - waitress Ilona and tram driver Lauri - lose their jobs and slowly, silently, pick up the pieces. Best known for the more uproarious Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Kaurismaki is a deadpan absurdist par excellence, and he's also a humanist at heart. Even as this visually lovely film teeters on the brink of irony, it holds to its undeniable compassion.

Cold Comfort Farm (PG). Rushed into British theatres after its box-office success in America, John Schlesinger's light-headed take on Stella Gibbons's novel returns to the small screen - which is where it belongs. Though superior to the Hollywood hogwash with which Schlesinger continues to associate himself, this isn't an especially successful adaptation: Malcolm Bradbury's screenplay retains mere flashes of Gibbons's satirical edge. As Flora, the orphaned socialite who's spending time with her yokel relations, Kate Beckinsale is competent; the yokels are played by actors who normally know better, among them, Rufus Sewell, Ian McKellen and Eileen Atkins.

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