Four new films to see in cinemas this week – The Irish Times

Four new films to see in cinemas this week – The Irish Times

HIT THE ROAD ★★★★☆

Directed by Panah Panahi. Starring Hassan Madjooni, Pantea Panahiha, Rayan Sarlak, Amin Simiar. 12A cert, limited release, 94 mins

The delightful debut feature from Panah Panahi, son of the jailed Jafar Panahi, concerns — appropriately enough — an Iranian family driving their son, apparently suspected of political offences, to the Turkish border with a mind to exile. Much like his father, Panahi is at home to play. There are dark truths buried here, but the action advances with the lightest of steps. This intimate film makes explicit mention of 2001: A Space Odyssey and ends with a visual reference to that enduring epic. As in a number of other Iranian classics, ingenious use is made of automotive confinement. Full review DC

JOYRIDE ★★☆☆☆

Directed by Emer Reynolds. Starring Olivia Colman, Charlie Reid, Lochlann O’Mearáin, Olwen Fouéré, Ruth McCabe, Tristan Heanue. 15A cert, gen release, 94 mins

There is great potential in the kick-off to this debut fiction feature from one of our great cinematic polymaths. A teenage boy (Reid), fleeing his dodgy father, leaps into the front of a taxi and accelerates towards freedom. He then realizes there is a woman (Olivia Colman no less) and a baby in the backseat. Their contrasting problems interlock and grind as the journey continues. Unfortunately, Reynolds’ film never thereafter finds a consistent tone or a satisfactory narrative rhythm. The acting is strong. The emotions are high. But the film fails rather than progresses. Full review DC

FIRE OF LOVE ★★★★☆

Directed by Sara Dosa. Featuring Miranda July, Katia and Maurice Krafft. Limited release, 93 mins

Katia and Maurice Krafft are introduced on icy, inhospitable terrain, driving what could, at a distance, pass for a moon buggy. For two decades the Kraftts were volcanology’s power couple. Maurice, the more outgoing of the married pair, was a fixture on French talk shows and a short documentary maker; Katia – who, on TV, gamely continued to smile at her husband’s joke that there are few relationships between volcanologists because their romances are volcanic – produced beautifully curated photographic studies. Their story makes for this year’s best documentary to date, and a film that demands to be seen on the largest possible screen. Full review TB

THE DEER KING ★★★☆☆

Directed by Masashi Ando, ​​Masayuki Miyaji. Featuring Anne, Hisui Kimura, Shin’ichi Tsutsumi. 12A cert, gen release, 114 mins

The Deer King is based on the hit Japanese fantasy novel series written by Nahoko Uehashi. With a nod to the classic 1970s manga Lone Wolf and Cub, the film casts a gruff warrior in a parental role. Van, a former soldier who has lost his wife and son, is forced to labor in a salt mine, where he is attacked by a pack of supernatural dogs. There are some beautiful character designs and flourishes, many of which trumpet Masashi Ando’s long-time Studio Ghibli associations. Depictions of plague and the mysterious bridled animals of the title recalling the director’s earlier work on Princess Mononoke. Full review TB

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