April is proving to be a very dramatic month for film, with obsession, regret and romance all playing out across our top cinema picks.
All hell breaks loose when a simple gun deal goes terribly wrong in Ben Wheatley’s latest crime comedy. Sam Riley, Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, Michael Smiley and many others make up a tasty assortment of quirky characters, each with their own agenda in mind.
The setting is simple: one rusty warehouse, one transaction, one suitcase full of money—yet despite the lack of complexity, the plot’s dynamic pacing and Wheatley’s on-point direction mean every second of the film is brimming with explosive pizzazz. Packed with sharp dialogue (“Vernon was misdiagnosed as a child genius and never got over it”), big laughs and great acting, Free Fire is a must-see for any Tarantino fan.
Out on March 31
City of Tiny Lights
A private eye with a troubled past (Riz Ahmed) takes on a missing-person case, which leads him on a dangerous roller coaster ride of political games and religious fanaticism. Billie Piper is his long-lost love, whose re-emergence brings ghosts of the past to life.
City of Tiny Lights is a stylish take on the classic film noir in the vein of Bogart-Bacall, set in the seedy underbelly of modern-day London. Perfect if you’re a fan of the genre—but don’t expect to be surprised by anything particularly fresh or new.
Out on April 7
I Am Not Your Negro
This powerful cinematic document provides a sobering look at the meaning of race in America, through the lens of novelist James Baldwin. Half-biography, half-history, the film interweaves archive footage of the eloquent yet defiant Baldwin with Samuel L Jackson’s mesmerising narration and modern-day news footage.
It’s a work of profound relevance today and a fascinating look into the life and work of James Baldwin that'll prompt you to delve deeper into his writings.
Out on April 7
The Sense of an Ending
A sombre symphony of nostalgia, regret and curiosity plays out as a British divorcé (Jim Broadbent) receives a mysterious letter, prompting a haunting trip down memory lane in search of closure on a bygone relationship.
Director Ritesh Batra reaffirms himself as a master of capturing and finessing the human condition on-screen after his equally moving The Lunchbox. This thoughtful adaptation will trigger many an introspection.
Out on April 14
Rules Don’t Apply
Small-town ingénue Marla moves to Hollywood with dreams of becoming a star, under contract to the eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes. She soon falls in love with her chauffer, despite her boss’ strict edicts forbidding relationships between employees.
Hollywood legend Warren Beatty writes, directs and stars in this sweet romantic comedy featuring top-class acting, great music and a dazzling 1950s setting.
Out on April 21
The beguiling Gemma Arterton stars as Catrin—a young screenwriter who joins a film crew on the production of a new propaganda film to boost morale during the Second World War. In the process, she develops an attraction for the dashing screenwriter Buckley, played by Sam Claflin.
Though somewhat predictable and following well-trodden rom-com tropes, Their Finest is a chic and charming film, revelling in the intoxicating chemistry between the two main stars. Arterton is luscious yet assertive and Claflin will surprise many with a somewhat uncharacteristic role as the witty, slightly bookish screenwriter.
Out on April 21
This fierce adaptation of an 1865 Russian novel will send chills down your spine and haunt you for days to come. Florence Pugh (who previously starred in The Falling) delivers a masterful performance as a young woman sold into marriage to a bitter man twice her age. Bored and lonely, she embarks upon a passionate affair.
Seemingly quiet and restrained, Lady Macbeth bubbles with furious lust and obsession that takes some disturbing, dark turns...
Out on April 28