Five of the best
1My Pure Land (15) (Sarmad Masud, 2017, UK) 98 mins. It could almost be a western, except this female-led siege thriller is set in modern-day Pakistan and, shockingly, is based on a true story. We’re thrown straight into the action, as three women take up assault rifles to defend their home when a greedy uncle comes calling. Flashbacks cleverly fill in the details, and there are moments of grace as well as high tension.
2It (15) (Andy Muschietti, 2017, US) 135 mins. Ticking boxes for 80s nostalgia and clown-based terror, this Stephen King adaptation came with a built-in audience and it doesn’t let them down. Following a team of adolescents on a high-stakes monster hunt, it’s a polished compilation of horror scenarios grounded by its cast.
3Mother! (18) (Darren Aronofsky, 2017, US)
Domestic paranoia and general freakoutery are on the cards in Aronofsky’s latest, but it’s best to go into it cold. Sceptics might come out feeling the same temperature. The setup: Jennifer Lawrence is happily restoring her country home while her writer husband does his creating, until a series of unexpected visitors come knocking. The story escalates bizarrely, tipping so far into allegory it loses some of its grip.
4God’s Own Country (15) (Francis Lee, 2017, UK) 105 mins.
This stirring Yorkshire tale is beautifully, economically told, with a reliance on images and gestures rather than words. The setting is an ailing, isolated livestock farm, where a troubled young man and a Romanian hired hand bond with each other and, ultimately, the land.
5The Work (15) (Jairus McLeary & Gethin Aldous, 2017, US) 89 mins.
A group therapy session in a California prison delivers astonishing results in this doc, stripping down masculine facades and accessing the hurt within. That often translates into weeping, fighting and emotional confession, not just from the criminals but visitors too.
Sister act My Pure Land