ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY
American Gangster ★★★★
With Russell Crowe on form in current 1970s cop caper The Nice Guys, here he is in rather less comedic mode in a true-life New York crime saga set between 1968 and 1974. Denzel Washington brings a suave tranquility to his role as emerging Harlem drugs lord Frank Lucas, while Crowe’s honest New Jersey cop Richie Roberts juggles divorce, pariah status within a corrupt police department and, eventually, the logistics of bringing Lucas down. It’s as if The Godfather, GoodFellas and Scarface met HBO’s The Wire: grand overstatement combined with procedural detail, grainy 70s style and junkie sleaze, all held together by the sure hand of Ridley Scott. Beyond Josh Brolin’s poisonously bad cop, a fine supporting cast struggles to make any meaningful impact in the wake of a dominant Washington – not least in the poorly sketched female roles – and fidelity to events takes the dramatic sting out of an operatic climax. Nonetheless, a classy crime fable with a touch of Scorsese and De Palma.
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold ★★★★
One of the great Cold War thrillers, starring a never-better Richard Burton as a British spy being courted by the other side. Shot in the bleakest black and white, it’s a world away from James Bond, and deliberately so.
Single White Female ★★★★
9.00-11.10pm Movie Mix
Bridget Fonda finds that imitation is not a form of flattery when Jennifer Jason Leigh moves in and starts to take over her life. Handbags (and high-heels) at dawn.
Welcome to the Jungle ★★★
Dwayne Johnson was still being billed as plain old “The Rock” when he made this knockabout actioner set in the Amazon (Hawaii, in fact) and co-starring Seann William Scott and Rosario Dawson. Lots of skull-crushing fun.
11.20pm-1.30am Film Four
Saoirse Ronan stars as the teenage assassin with Cate Blanchett in her sights in Joe Wright’s quirky, fast-paced thriller.
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