Four new films to see in cinemas this week

Paul Mescal is enigmatic in God’s Creatures, Keanu Reeves is back for more revenge as John Wick and more

God’s Creatures ★★★★☆

Directed by Saela Davis, Anna Rose Holmer. Starring Emily Watson, Paul Mescal, Aisling Franciosi, Declan Conlon, Toni O’Rourke, Lalor Roddy, Brendan McCormack. 15A cert, gen release, 101 min

Mescal is enigmatic as a young man who courts trouble after returning home to an Irish fishing village after a spell in Australia. Watson is granite-faced as his mother in a film that revels in layers of generational tragedy that might have diverted the ancient Greeks. As the accusations grow, the locals close protective ranks. Franciosi, so strong in Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, is heartbreaking as the soul upon whom the evil most cruelly plays. God’s Creatures doesn’t quite manage its daring blend of realism and ageless catastrophe. The huge final gesture feels too heightened. But this remains a bitter, satisfying entertainment. Full review DC

John Wick Chapter 4 ★★★★☆

Directed by Chad Stahelski. Starring Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, Scott Adkins, Ian McShane. 16 cert, gen release, 170 min

Keanu is back to exact more revenge. It is said that one should never bring a knife to a gunfight. The makers of John Wick Chapter 4 beg to differ. They’re bringing knives, nunchaku, an attack dog, swords, ninja stars, sticks, and – oh yes – a busy Parisian roundabout to the gunfight. At 170 minutes, it’s longer than Apocalypse Now, and the primary raison d’être – what if an action movie was composed almost entirely of action? – is one staircase-stunt away from implosion. So many falls. So many stairs. Kudos to production designer Kevin Kavanaugh’s determination to make Versailles look like a dump. Full review TB


The Five Devils ★★★★★

Directed by Léa Mysius. Starring Adèle Exarchopoulos, Sally Dramé, Swala Emati, Moustapha Mbengue, Daphné Patakia. No cert, gen release, 96 min

Mysius’s accomplished second feature is the time-travelling, olfactory-driven, LGBTQ-romance, and family melodrama you couldn’t possibly have seen coming. Especially with added superpowers. A sustained knack for surprise defines the script co-written by the director and cinematographer Paul Guilhaume. Shot in gorgeous 35mm against the Alpine region of the title, The Five Devils concerns Vicky (Dramé), a young girl with a supernaturally heightened sense of smell. The big, bold plot invited comparisons with Titane when the film premiered at Cannes. It’s not car-sex, head-plate bonkers, but, like Ducournau’s film, it maintains a heightened, delirious dialogue with genre cinema. Full Review TB

The Beasts ★★★★★

Directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen. Starring Denis Menochet, Marina Fois, Luis Zahera, Diego Anido, Machi Salgado. No cert, limited release, 137 min

Every once in a while we are allowed to claim that a drama is “really a western in disguise”. A French couple moves to an isolated part of Spain. They alone resist the advances of incoming investors seeking to buy up land. The dispute ultimately leads to violence. There are big chunks of Nicholas Ray’s Johnny Guitar and Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West right there. But here wind farms take the place of the railroad. Menochet and Fois are, respectively, vulnerable and stoic as the outsiders in a tense, gritty story that builds brilliantly to a crisis and then cleverly shifts focus. Full review DC

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic