The Independent film guide

WASHINGTON SQUARE

(PG) HH

Director: Agnieszka Holland

Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Albert Finney, Ben Chaplin, Maggie Smith

Bringing up the rear of the latest Henry James boom comes the story of the mousy New York heiress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) whose dour father (Albert Finney) forbids her marriage to a dashing but penniless suitor (Ben Chaplin).

In the hands of Polish director Agnieszka Holland, it is tasteful and carefully observed, but distinctly lacking in passion, with the central trio so muted that Maggie Smith is allowed to steal the show as Leigh's interfering aunt. Besides, William Wyler did it all so much better in his 1949 version, The Heiress.

THE GENERAL

(15) HHHH

Director: John Boorman

Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Adrian Dunbar, Sean McGinley, Angeline Ball, Jon Voight

John Boorman's best film in two decades charts the violent, colourful career of Dublin gangster Martin Cahill, who ran rings round the Gardai with a succession of increasingly audacious heists before the IRA put him out of business in 1994.

Beautifully shot in black-and-white, it's incongruously jaunty and lyrical in tone. But Boorman gets away with it thanks to a larger-than-life performance from Brendan Gleeson, which has you warming to Cahill's defiant individualism even as you recoil from the brutality his lifestyle entailed.

See Interview, p4-5.

WISHMASTER

(18) H

Director: Robert Kurtzman

Starring: Tammy Lauren, Andrew Divoff, Robert Englund

Transforming the djinn of Arabian legend from pantomime figure-of-fun to movie monster might seem like a shrewd idea for a horror franchise. But despite the recommendation "Wes Craven presents" (whatever that means, since he's not credited as director, writer or producer), there's little trace of the Scream director's ironic touch in this turgid gorefest about an evil spirit running amok in the art world after it's released from an ancient Persian jewel.

"Forget Robin Williams," quips one character as they try to describe the genie's evil nature, but frankly his hairy back is a lot scarier than any of the latex on display here.

THE JAMES GANG

(15) HH

Director: Mike Barker

Starring: John Hannah, Helen McCrory, Jason Flemyng, Toni Collette

Desperate Scottish mum Helen McCrory turns to armed robbery with four kids and hopeless boyfriend John Hannah in tow, leading uptight policewoman Toni Collette on a cross-country chase from London to the wilds of North Wales.

Mike Barker's feature debut moves fast and looks fantastic, but never makes up its mind whether it's supposed to be a hard-hitting social drama, a knockabout comedy, a tense psychological thriller or a shaggy-dog road movie. The kids are great, though. DARK CITY

(15) HHH

Director: Alex Proyas

Starring: Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt

Alex Proyas, director of The Crow, returns with another over-the-top urban nightmare, as amnesiac suspected serial-killer Rufus Sewell flees through the night, pursued by dour inspector William Hurt, syringe-wielding psychiatrist Kiefer Sutherland and Richard "Rocky Horror Show" O'Brien as one of a sinister, Homburg-hatted breed of aliens known as "The Strangers".

What starts off as a hugely imaginative pastiche of film noir and German expressionism soon spins off into the stratosphere of mind-boggling sci- fi mumbo-jumbo, but it's done with complete conviction and lashings of morbid style.

AFTERGLOW

(15) HHH

Director: Alan Rudolph

Starring: Nick Nolte, Julie Christie, Lara Flynn Boyle, Jonny Lee Miller

Two couples - fiftysomethings Nolte and Christie, and twentysomethings Boyle and Miller - swap partners and wry aphorisms in the latest urbane romantic comedy from writer-director Alan Rudolph (Choose Me, The Moderns).

The plot may be the stuff of farce, but the mood is melancholy, mysterious and ultimately - thanks to Julie Christie's wonderful, Oscar-nominated performance as a washed-up B-movie actress - very moving. The rest of the cast are excellent too, not least Jonny Lee Miller, a long, long way from Trainspotting, as a repressed Montreal yuppie.

John Wrathall

News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

    Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

    Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

    Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

    £26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn