The Sisters Brothers Released on 5th April French director Jacques Audiard’s English language debut takes as its source a novel by Patrick deWitt. The Sisters Brothers dresses itself in the sweat and the grit of the traditional western but does something more interesting in its examination of masculinity and of familial duty. John C Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix are notorious outlaws, Eli and Charlie Sisters. The roles feel comfortably lived, like the weathered boots the men don’t even take off to sleep. There’s a pleasing old-time formality to the dialogue—particularly that of Jake Gyllenhaal’s dandyish bounty hunter—and crackling creativity to the violence.
Styx Released on 26th April
Lean in its plotting and sparse in its dialogue, Styx makes its point with laser precision. Rike (a remarkable Susanne Wolff) is an emergency doctor who is sailing, single handed, to Ascension Island. The crisp, efficient direction of her journey is compelling, even before she encounters a wrecked ship overloaded with desperate migrants. She is faced with an impossible dilemma: obey the coast guard and stay her distance? Or obey her conscience and help?
Donbass Released on 26th April In Sergei Loznitsa’s scalding account of a Ukraine torn apart by internal conflict, 13 segments are threaded together by maliciously stoked rumours and powered by simmering grudges. Violence lurks close to the surface. A mob attack on a man accused of a crime has the righteous fervour and savagery of a Twitter pile-on; meanwhile a camera crew recruits extras for a fake news report on a fictitious bomb attack that turns out to have a body count after all. Brilliant but gruelling.