LOVERS are at loggerheads in 1950s-set drama THE DEEP BLUE SEA (12: Artificial Eye), a heart-rending adaptation of a Terence Rattigan play.
Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz), the wife of respected judge, Sir William Collyer (Simon Russell Beale), is unhappy with her marriage and becomes infatuated with a young fighter pilot, Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston).
She leaves her husband to start a new life with Freddie under an assumed name, but his interest in her wanes, and as the relationship isn’t really enough for her either, she is driven to despair and contemplates suicide.
Admirers of Rattigan’s work might be thrown by the first 20 minutes in which Hester recalls her romance in a fragmented puzzle of images to the plaintive strains of Samuel Barber’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. But then this beautifully acted film reverts to its more traditional aspects, with Weisz on superb form.
Fans of director Terence Davies’s earlier, more autobiographical films, like Distant Voices, Still Lives, will see his signature in its gold-burnished visions of peeling paint, wartime bomb shelters and jaunty pub singalongs.
> Inspired by true events, TEXAS KILLING FIELDS (15: Entertainment In Video), a crime thriller about two cops in Texas City trying to solve several mysterious murders, has plenty of atmosphere yet doesn’t add much to the police-procedural genre. It marks the Hollywood feature debut of Ami Canaan Mann, the daughter of Heat director Michael Mann.
Sam Worthington stars as hard-nosed homicide detective Mike Souder, who reluctantly joins forces with imported New York officer Brian Heigh (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to investigate the killings, which seem to criss-cross local state boundaries, to the annoyance of the fiercely provincial local lawman.
While the film never fully develops its initial whodunnit intrigue, it does sustain its intensity, largely due to a well-assembled supporting cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Chloe Grace Moretz and British actor Stephen Graham.
The standout performance comes from Morgan, who gets a rare showcase to demonstrate his credentials as a likeable, no-nonsense leading man.
Ami Canaan Mann’s movie may not be up to her father’s meticulous standards, but it shows a great deal of promise.
> Ultra-bleak social commentary is mixed with true-life horror in SNOWTOWN (18: Revolver) in which a single mother raising three boys begins a new relationship with a charismatic stranger who protects her family from her abusive ex-partner.
Set in Adelaide in the 1990s, this relentlessly disturbing debut from Australian director Justin Kurzel is based on his homeland’s notorious ‘Bodies in the barrels’ murders.
Seemingly trustworthy John Bunting (Daniel Henshall) is a manipulative psychopath who worms his way into the mother’s deprived family and then grooms her 16-year-old son (Lucas Pittaway) to participate in his shocking crimes.
Henshall is startling, switching between charmer and monster with riveting ease, and the escalating sense of claustrophobia and dread really crawls under the skin.
Grimy visuals and a pulsating soundtrack prove particularly powerful in the killing scenes, although Snowtown frustratingly comes unstuck with an unclear plot and character details, which leave viewers to make too many assumptions about what’s happened and to whom.
> The winner of many awards at international film festivals, gory zombiefest THE REVENANT (15: Universal) splatters onto DVD.
Bart (David Anders), a soldier serving in Iraq, wakes up the morning after his own funeral to discover he’s been resurrected.
Unable to ignore his thirst for blood, Bart knows there’s only one person he can rely on for help, his slacker best pal Joey (Chris Wilde).
The pair realise that Bart’s condition is a perfect opportunity to become vigilante crime-fighters. They start killing the city’s lowlife criminals, who provide a steady supply of blood for Bart, but their spree escalates out of control.
> Billed as “Saw meets Richard & Judy”, KILL KEITH (15: Metrodome) tells how TV presenter Keith Chegwin has been annoying the British public for more than four decades with his cheeky chappy chuckles.
From Swap Shop to Cheggers Plays Pop, The Big Breakfast to GMTV, his irrepressible energy has kept him at the top of his game.
But his reign is about to come to a gory end in this horror comedy, featuring guest appearances by Tony Blackburn, Joe Pasquale and Russell Grant.
Much-loved TV personalities are being gruesomely despatched using a variety of breakfast condiments and as the body count grows, so does the hysteria.
There appears to be no stopping the Breakfast Serial Killer as he marches relentlessly towards his ultimate goal – to kill Keith!