Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman are at their very best in psychological thriller BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP (15: Studio Canal).
Kidman plays the mentally unstable Christine Lucas, a vulnerable amnesiac who records her memories every day lest she lose further track of her disappeared former life.
Husband Ben (Firth) fiercely protects her, unaware that Dr Nash (Mark Strong) has other ideas about her affliction. But something isn’t adding up and Christine isn’t sure who to trust – her manly spouse or the honest doctor.
Based on the best-selling thriller by SJ Watson, this is a memorable example of fine British film-making. Director Rowan Joffe conjures superb performances from the perfect cast in a chilling film that knows exactly what it is doing.
> Scarlett Johansson gets a rude awakening in LUCY (15: Universal) as an American everywoman abroad who’s forced to act as a drug mule for vicious crime boss Mr Jang.
Trouble is, she accidentally ingests the experimental substance, causing her cerebral capabilities to expand towards the godlike. Morgan Freeman adds his usual gravitas as a scientist who offers both enlightenment and incredulity, as the increasingly super-powered Lucy desperately tries to hang on to her humanity while evading a vengeful Jang and his henchmen.
This crazy collision of Limitless and 2001: A Space Odyssey is directed by Luc Besson and is not a patch on his best work, like Nikita and Leon.
Johansson is more ultra-evolved brainbox than action heroine, unlike her Black Widow character in the Avengers movies. It’s barmy, but there are enough enthralling moments in which action clichés – fights, car chases etc – are turned on their head to often breathtaking visual effect.
> NIGHT MOVES (15: Soda Pictures) borrows its title from Arthur Penn’s 1975 thriller starring Gene Hackman).
It concerns the attempts of three young eco-activists to blow up a hydroelectric dam. Yet it’s as much to do with the paranoid bubble the conspirators find themselves in than their struggle with the outside world.
The lead-in is slow, offering an insight into procedure rather than motive, with an agonising wait to obtain the fertiliser needed for the bomb.
The second half, however, picks up the pace and establishes a dangerously unstable dynamic between the jittery Dena (Dakota Fanning), loose cannon Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) and their unsettlingly unflappable handler Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard).
Things get a little overheated, but the direction by Kelly Reichardt stays cool with a perfect, understated ending.
> Set in New York City in 1991, ROB THE MOB (15) sees small-time crooks Tommy (Michael Pitt) and Rosie (Nina Arianda) have two things in common – a crazy-passionate love for one another and, after they’re caught robbing a florist on Valentine’s Day, prison records.
Trying to go straight, Rosie lands a job at a debt-collection agency and persuades Tommy to join her. But soon he is skipping shifts to attend the landmark trial of Mafia hitman Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano, whose graphic testimony could finally bring down flamboyant Gambino-family boss John Gotti.