(M) An outstanding feature debut from Australian stage director Simon Stone, this modernisation of Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck is distinguished not only by the intelligent, economical, fluid direction but also by the emotional intensity of the drama and the fine performances from members of a distinguished ensemble cast that includes Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Ewen Leslie, Paul Schneider, Miranda Otto, Anna Torv and newcomer Odessa Young, who was so good in Looking for Grace.
10 Cloverfield Lane (M) The latest film from the team behind Lost, the new Star Trek series and Super 8, Bad Robot Productions, has emerged as quietly as its namesake, Cloverfield. Like that 2008 monster science fiction film, Cloverfield Lane was filmed in secret. And that is ideally how the story should remain for viewers if they are to fully enjoy this film. So, what to tell without going too far? The opening montage shows a young woman whose car is knocked into a death-defying roll before she wakes up in a grey bunker, chained to a wall. Rather than use the victim as the film’s protagonist, director Dan Trachtenberg maintains tension by shifting the focus. It is best not to know where Cloverfield Lane will take you. Revel in the competence of its craft and the playfulness of its performances. And revel in not knowing, for once.
The Witch: A New England Folktale (MA 15+) An austere and genuinely creepy story set in a community of English Christian settlers in the 1630s, this is the strikingly unusual first feature from American stage director and designer Robert Eggers. Not, as you may suppose, a conventional horror film — though there are some very unsettling ingredients — this is more in the classic style of Danish director Carl Dreyer’s wartime Day of Wrath than it is in line with contemporary horror films.
Fiddler on the Roof Fiddler is a classic tale of tradition-bending in the face of a wilful and independent younger generation. But when it comes to the production of Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein’s precious musical text, tradition rules like a tyrant. There are, nevertheless, surprises to be found and enjoyed in the present staging. Fiddler is still remarkably affecting, more domestically than politically though the refugee angle is especially pertinent today. The music is brassy and infectious and the story is delivered with unabashed sincerity. Starring Anthony Warlow as Tevye the Milkman (pictured). Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell Street, Haymarket. Wednesday, 8pm. Tickets: $80-$113. Bookings: 136 100. Until May 6.