5 to See: This Weekend

This weekend ASFF selects five films that are heading for UK cinemas. All English-language, though all very different, the genres range from satire and action to horror, semi-biography and drama. Among the themes explored this week: mental illness, nationalism, and identity.

The Day Shall Come (E1 Entertainment)

Master satirist Chris Morris returns with his first major project since 2011’s Four Lions. While that lampooned jihadists, this time the former Brass Eye creator turns his attention to the lunatic element of the FBI, as the American law-enforcers attempt to entrap terrorists in any way possible. Newcomer Marchánt Davis – recently seen on Broadway with Brian Cox – stars as the leader of a fringe revolutionary group who unwittingly becomes the latest target.

Farming (Lionsgate)

The British-born actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje – so good as Mr. Eko in TV drama Lost – makes his directorial debut with Farming. Expanding on the short he made back in 2004, this tells of a young Nigerian boy who is ‘farmed’ out by his parents to a white British family in the hope of claiming a better future. Instead, he becomes the leader of a skinhead gang in a story that also features Kate Beckinsale, Jaime Winstone and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Gemini Man (Paramount)

After Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Ang Lee continues his visual experiments with the so-called ‘higher frame rate’ in Gemini Man – shooting in 4K digital 3D at 120 frames per second. Whether this appeals will depend on personal taste, but the story here sees Will Smith play a hitman who must face off with a younger clone of himself. Will v. Will? Two Smiths for the price of one? It’s a slick high-concept Hollywood effort that’s likely to become a mere footnote in the annals of the digital cinema revolution.

The Dead Center (Arrow Films)

Shane Carruth is the writer-director known for such head-scratching puzzle-films as Primer and Upstream Color. But here he makes a rare foray in front of the camera for another filmmaker, Billy Senese, who wrote, directed and produced this unnerving tale of Daniel Forrester (Carruth), a psychiatrist who begins to lose his grip on his sanity when he encounters a disturbed amnesiac patient on a psych ward, soon overrun with a spate of mysterious deaths. 

American Woman

American Woman (Signature Entertainment)

Sienna Miller plays the lead in Jake Scott’s drama of a rural American woman whose world collapses with the disappearance of her daughter. Spread over ten years, it’s not just about a missing child; rather that’s the inciting incident in a story that sees Miller’s Deb attempt to jigsaw her life back together. Among the bright-spot co-stars, Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul and Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, who plays Deb’s sister.

All films released on 11 October.

James Mottram