5 to See: This Weekend

ASFF selects five films set for release in UK cinemas this Friday. Featuring a number of films that are either in the awards conversation – or should have been, but were controversially snubbed – these English-language titles range from psychological dramas to revenge thrillers and road movies.

Queen & Slim (E1 Entertainment)

Daniel Kaluuya is Slim and Jodie Turner-Smith is Queen in this lovers-on-the-run tale that comes packed with a blunt-impact message about racial profiling and police brutality. After being pulled over by a bigoted cop, an incident that leads to his shooting, Queen and Slim – who in fact were only on a first date – drive from Ohio to New Orleans in their desperation to escape. First time director Melina Matsoukas lends the film a Bonnie and Clyde vibe, though the social implications of the story are never forgotten.

The Rhythm Section (Paramount)

This is billed as “from the producers of James Bond”, but Blake Lively’s Stephanie Patrick is anything but a female 007, as she transforms into vengeful killer – out to get the terrorists who wiped out her family with a bomb planted on an airplane. Reed Morano (The Handmaid’s Tale) directs, from a script by Mark Burnell adapted from his own novel series. Jude Law co-stars – and makes a solid impression – as the reclusive former MI6 agent tutoring Lively to be a stone-cold killer.

The Lighthouse (Universal)

The Witch’s Robert Eggers returns with this stunning tale, shot in black-and-white and filmed in an old-fashioned ratio. Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are New England lighthouse keepers, addled by superstition and super-strong hooch, who gradually fall into madness as a storm brews outside and keeps others from relieving their post. A psychological, claustrophobic drama, with mermaids, seagulls and other nautical charms, this is unlike anything else out there. Do not miss.

Richard Jewell (Warner Bros.)

It’s been caught up in controversy surrounding the accuracy of some of its dramatisations, but Clint Eastwood’s latest film is still a compelling ride, driven by a fine turn by Paul Walter Hauser. He plays the titular security guard who, during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, found a bag with a bomb in it, saving many lives. What happens next, as the FBI and others turn on him, believing him the suspect, is shocking. Oscar nominee Kathy Bates, Sam Rockwell and Jon Hamm co-star.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (Sony)

Beloved American TV personality Fred Rogers, who entertained youngsters for 33 years with his show Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood, is brought to the screen by Oscar nominee Tom Hanks, a casting choice that couldn’t be better. Here, in Marielle Heller’s film, he’s the supporting player in the story of a troubled journalist (Matthew Rhys) sent to interview him who is deeply suspicious of his wholesome personality. A gentle film about kindness and humanity, it’s stealthily directed by Heller.

All films released on 31 January.

James Mottram