Director: Amma Asante.
Starring: Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo. UK 2016. 111 mins.
Former child actor turned director Amma Asante’s follow-up to her acclaimed 2013 feature Belle is another real-life story based on a love affair that defied class divisions, racial bias and social conventions. David Oyelowo plays Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (now Botswana), whose relationship with London office worker Ruth Williams (Pike) caused an international stir in the 1940s. Adapted by Guy Hibbert from Susan Williams’s 2007 biography Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama And His Nation, Asante’s latest offering makes great use of its two main locations, England and Botswana. Celebrating the triumph of love and intelligence in the face of oppression and intolerance, A United Kingdom reveals a complex and painful period of British history. It also confirms Asante as one of the most important voices in British cinema.
Director: Jim Jarmusch.
Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani. USA 2016. 118 mins..
Jim Jarmusch’s immersive follow-up to Only Lovers Left Alive chronicles a week in the life of Paterson (Driver, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), a bus driver in the city of Paterson, New Jersey.
He leads a homespun life that finds comfort in ritual: he rises each day at the same time, goes to work, and then comes home to his creative, adoring wife, Laura (Farahani), whose ever-changing world of new projects and dreams dovetails happily with his. In the broader strokes, each day is the same, differing only in the details – but this regularity is underpinned by Paterson’s passion for poetry, in which he finds refuge for reflection.
A hit at the Cannes Film Festival, Paterson is both a searching study in aloneness and a celebration of the small wonders woven into the fabric of life.
Director: Clint Eastwood. Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney. USA 2016. 96 mins.
It’s rare that you know the outcome of a film from the get-go but nonetheless remain riveted throughout, but that’s exactly what Clint Eastwood’s Sully provides. It tells the story of how Captain Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger (Hanks) landed his airliner in Manhattan’s Hudson River in 2009 without loss of life, following a bird strike that disabled both of the plane’s engines. In the aftermath, even as the public and media heralded the heroics of the captain and his co-pilot Skiles (Eckhart), the pair faced an official investigation that accused them of endangering the lives of the 155 souls they actually saved. Using time jumps and Sullenberger’s imagined nightmare outcomes, Eastwood and writer Todd Komarnicki astutely recreate the events that happened and the disaster scenarios that were avoided.