BritFilms On The Big Screen – Latest Offerings
Wilderness (93 mins, 15)
Directed by Michael J Bassett; starring Sean Pertwee, Alex Reid, Toby Kebbell
Alpha Male (100 mins, 15)
Directed by Dan Wilde; starring Jennifer Ehle, Danny Huston, Patrick Baladi, Trudie Styler
Sisters in Law (104 mins, PG)
Directed by Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi
More horrors in the open air are to be found in Michael J Bassett's Wilderness, an effective British shocker starring Sean Pertwee as a hard-as-nails prison officer who takes a band of tough young off enders on a character-building expedition to a supposedly deserted military training island off the Scottish coast. But there are two female young off enders there, accompanied by a woman warder who's recently served in Basra, and there is a lethal stalker picking them off one by one. It's a violent affair, very like Dog Soldiers in which hard-as-nails Sergeant Sean Pertwee led a band of threatened squaddies on a doom-laden military exercise in Scotland, and somewhat arbitrary in its sense of what constitutes rough justice.
The week's other British movie, Alpha Male, is a dim account of a brother and sister from a wealthy Home Counties family adjusting to the death of their overbearing father (Danny Huston) and refusing to accept their mother's new husband (Patrick Baladi), a widowed painter. The narrative is confusing, the motivation obscure and the performances stilted. Jennifer Ehle, an attractive actress, most famous for her TV Elizabeth Bennet, goes through the proceedings with a curious little smile on her lips while remaining loyal to both her late husband and her current lover - what one might call simper fidelis.
Co-directed by two British feminist film-makers, Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi, Sisters in Law is an outstanding documentary recording and celebrating the work of some redoubtable female lawyers, judges and social workers enforcing the rights of women and children in the hidebound, male-dominated Cameroon, the West African state created from former French and British trusteeship territories. They are formidable women doing a fine job courageously.
Find more of Phillip French's views on this week's releases in The Observer