BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
The Wrestler ★★★★★
Mickey Rourke gives his finest performance as a beat-up old wrestler, once a champion but now reduced to working in a supermarket, who plans one last hurrah in the ring. But over-use of steroids induces a heart attack and he is warned that if he wrestles again he’ll probably die. Rourke is a loner, his only friend an ageing stripper, Marisa Tomei. While he recuperates he seeks to re-establish contact with his estranged daughter, Evan Rachel Wood, but that doesn’t entirely work. The only people who love him, he says, are the wrestling fans, so back he goes to the ring with results that you may discover for yourselves. Darren Aronofsky’s film is tense, sweaty, testosterone-packed and gripping throughout.
Cape Fear ★★★★
This remake of the 1962 classic simmers with menace, as Robert De Niro’s heavily tattooed, cigar-chomping jailbird uses his parole to stalk lawyer Nick Nolte and his family. Director Martin Scorsese’s affection for the original is clear, from the hat-tipping support cast through to the recycled Bernard Herrmann score.
The Angels’ Share ★★★
Who said Ken Loach can’t do comedy? The voice of British cinema’s social conscience shows his lighter side with a story about a violent offender (OK, its not all fun and fluffy) who tries to turn over a new leaf, only to become embroiled in a scam to steal some priceless whisky. Loach won the Jury Prize at Cannes for this low-key charmer, and it receives its Freeview premiere tonight.
What to Expect When You’re Expecting ★★★
It may not be a substitute for actually reading the bestselling self-help manual, but this lighthearted look at five mums-to-be might still give you pause for thought before taking the baby plunge. Expect laughs, tears and raging hormones-aplenty, plus the novel sight of Cameron Diaz sporting a bump.
Open Water ★★★
We all know that worse things happen at sea, and here’s the proof. In a nutshell, a nice American couple become sharkbait when they are accidentally left at sea during a scuba-diving trip in the Caribbean. There are no star names propping up this modest indie feature, so that just adds to suspense that anything could happen. And it does.