5 to See: This Weekend

This weekend ASFF selects five films – four features and one documentary – that will provoke, enlighten and entertain. Amongst the issues explored: myth, racism, the role of law in society and our willingness to survive at all costs.

The King (Dogwoof)

 Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight) returns with this state-of-the-nation travelogue, as he zips across America in Elvis Presley’s 1963 silver Rolls-Royce. Exploring the country as it was when Elvis was alive and as it is now, he speaks to everyone from actor Ethan Hawke to Public Enemy’s Chuck D in a quest to understand what’s happened to the American Dream.

The Children Act (E1 Entertainment)

After On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan returns to the big screen again with this adaptation of his 2014 novel. Reuniting with director Richard Eyre – they last made 1983’s The Ploughman’s Lunch together – McEwan’s work sees Emma Thompson play a high-court judge who faces marital upheaval just at the point she must adjudicate in an emotional case involving a sick teenager. Co-starring Dunkirk’s Fionn Whitehead, it’s a highly-charged and intelligent drama.

Slender Man (Sony Pictures)

For the unaware Slender Man is fictional boogeyman character whose presence has arisen on Internet forums in the past few years. This tall, reed-thin faceless stalker has already inspired a video game and now this horror movie, set in small-town Massachusetts. Directed by Sylvain White, it stars Julia Goldani Telles as Hallie, a young girl who together with her friends summons the Slender Man on the Internet and must face the consequences.

Alpha (Sony Pictures)

Set in Europe 20,000 years ago, Alpha is a survival story set in the extremities of nature. Kodi Smit-McPhee, who featured in the post-apocalyptic drama The Road, plays Keda, the son of a tribal chief left for dead after a hunting expedition gone wrong. Forced to fend for himself in the wilderness, where wolves hunt in packs and big cats roam the land, it’s a spectacular family adventure, directed by Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli). 

BlacKkKlansman (Universal)

Spike Lee is back to his best with this true-life tale of Ron Stallworth, a black Colorado cop (John David Washington) investigating a local branch of the Ku Klux Klan for possible terrorist activity. Co-starring Adam Driver and Topher Grace, Lee mixes action, comedy and Blaxploitation thrills to tell an important – and highly relevant – story about the racial battle-lines drawn in American soil.

All films released 24 August.

James Mottram

1. Still from BlacKkKlansman (Universal).
2. Still from The King (Dogwoof).
3. Still from The Children Act (E1 Entertainment).
4. Still from Slender Man (Sony Pictures).
5. Still from Alpha (Sony Pictures).
6. Still from BlacKkKlansman (Universal).