Five of the best

The Guardian - The Guide - - Film - Steve Rose

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)

121 mins.

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

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