BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
American Hustle ★★★★
PREMIERE 9.00-11.40pm C4
A screwball comedy inspired by the FBI Abscam (or “Arab scam“) of the late 20th century designed to sniff out corrupt politicians. Christian Bale, sporting a comb-over to make even Donald Trump envious, and Amy Adams are a pair of con artists and lovers, who are caught out by FBI agent Bradley Cooper. Instead of arresting them he recruits them to help introduce bogus Arab sheikhs to crooked local politicians and induce the politicos to accept bribes. Cooper’s main target is New Jersey mayor Jeremy Renner. The many complications to this scheme include the presence of Bale’s highly unpredictable wife, Jennifer Lawrence. David O Russell’s film claims that much of what takes place actually happened but equally much of it obviously didn’t. Still, the result is funny and hugely enjoyable. In an excellent ensemble cast Robert De Niro appears briefly as a Mafia boss but the one who shines brightest, though in a comparatively minor role, is the hugely talented Lawrence.
Morning Glory ★★★
PREMIERE 9.00-11.05pm Film4
This charming TV-show comedy is lifted by Rachel McAdams’s energetic producer and rounded off with a great double act from Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton as show host and news anchor.
The German Doctor ★★★
PREMIERE 9.00-10.25pm BBC4
Runaway Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele fetches up in a Patagonian village in 1960 and attracts the amorous attention of a young girl. Disturbingly, it’s based on a true story.
Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan ★★★★
One of the best in the series, with Ricardo Montalban in wonderfully villainous form as revenge-obsessed superhuman Khan. Kicking off a triple bill with The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home.
Gran Torino ★★★
In this fine contemporary drama, Clint Eastwood plays a retired auto worker who takes a stand against a local gang.
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