Here's our editor Tom Browne's silver screen selection for evenings out this autumn—popcorn at the ready!

Nocturnal Animals

Fashion designer turned director Tom Ford made a suitably stylish debut in 2009 with A Single Man, but this nail-biting revenge tale is in a different league.

It stars Amy Adams as Susan Morrow, a wealthy art-gallery owner who is surprised to receive the text of an unpublished novel from her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal). But her surprise soon turns to horror as she starts to read it…

Nocturnal Animals should put paid to the accusations of style over substance levelled at Ford earlier in his career. Sure, the film looks sleek and polished, but the sheer ambition of the storytelling—not to mention the mounting suspense and the satirical digs at the LA art scene—makes this a contender for movie of the year.

 

American Pastoral

This adaptation of Philip Roth’s 1997 novel marks the directorial debut of Ewan McGregor, who also takes the lead role as a businessman who’s cosy life is blown apart by his daughter’s radical politics.

McGregor has done himself no favours by choosing such a tricky novel as a first-time project since neither his pedestrian direction or fumbling performance does the material any favours.

 

Arrival

This is yet another twist on the age-old tale of alien spacecraft visiting Earth for unspecified reasons—in this case, nearer to the reflective tone of Close Encounters of the Third Kind than the gung-ho action of Independence Day.

Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams (again) are both fantastic as scientists tasked with discovering how a series of UFOs, suspended in mid-air over several locations, managed to travel through space—and what it means for humanity.

 

A United Kingdom

Rosamund Pike plays Ruth Williams, a typist in 1940s London who falls in love with Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), a royal family member in Bechuanaland (later Botswana). But will his people accept their marriage?

Director Amma Asante made a big splash in 2013 with Belle, but this is a disappointing follow-up, spoiling a great story with clichéd scripting and broad-brush characters.

 

A Quiet Passion

Fans of the not-exactly-prolific film-maker Terence Davies have had a lot of cheer about recently.

First, there was last year’s fabulous Sunset Song, and now comes this exquisite drama based on the life of American poet Emily Dickinson.

Cynthia Nixon is superb in the lead role, and the movie has an understated tone that makes it all the more powerful.

 

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