5 to See: This Weekend

This weekend ASFF selects five films that are set to open in UK cinemas this Friday. Arriving from all corners of the globe – America, Australia, France and Britain – these narratives are original stories that bring fresh perspectives onto the modern world. Dealing with friendship, revenge, corruption, loneliness and courage, these are powerful tales to explore and enjoy.

Blue Story (Paramount)

Grime artist Rapman, who scored a sensation on YouTube with his three-part Shiro’s Story, makes his feature debut with Blue Story. Newcomer Stephen Odubola and Top Boy’s Micheal Ward play teenage friends who end up on opposite sides of a so-called ‘postcode war’ when gang rivalries escalate in what is a powerful, raw story that brings to mind American equivalents, Menace II Society and Boyz N The Hood. Rapman also appears on screen, in the backdrop, as a Greek chorus-like narrator.

Harriet (Universal)

British actress Cynthia Erivo (Widows) plays Harriet Tubman, a 19th Century Maryland-born slave who escaped her plantation to freedom in Philadelphia. Co-writer/director Kasi Lemmons tells a respectable, if slightly workmanlike, version of Tubman’s story, which sees her return to Maryland to free her fellow slaves. Co-stars include Joe Alwyn, as Harriet’s ‘owner’, and singer Janelle Monáe as Marie, the boarding house proprietor that Harriet first meets when she arrives in Philly.

Judy & Punch (Picturehouse)

Australian Mirrah Foulkes makes her directorial debut with this feminist spin on the Punch & Judy narrative. Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman (who recently played Charles Manson in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood and Mindhunter) star as Judy and Punch, two puppeteers working in what appears to be a 17th Century nowhere town. As the story unfolds, echoing elements of the Punch and Judy story, it becomes like a blood-soaked revenge tale – making it an intriguing story for the post-MeToo world.

21 Bridges (STX International)

Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman takes the lead as a New York detective in this run-of-the-mill cop thriller by Irish director Brian Kirk. The story kicks off after two robbers steal huge qualities of cocaine, leaving eight policemen dead in their wake. To stop them, Boseman’s lawman – a notorious one for taking down cop killers – resolves to shut down every exit, including those titular bridges, out of Manhattan. Sienna Miller and J.K. Simmons co-star.

I Lost My Body (Netflix)

French director Jérémy Clapin adapts Happy Hand, a novel by Guillaume Laurant, to deliver one of the most unique animations you’ll see this – or any – year. With an English voice cast led by Dev Patel, the story follows a down-on-his-luck Parisian pizza delivery boy who falls for one of his customers. But it also tells the story of a dismembered hand, as it escapes a medical laboratory to face all manner of dangers. Borrowing from The Incredible Shrinking Man, this is a masterful examination of loneliness and loss.

All films released on 22 November.

James Mottram