After blubbing at the Military Wives movie premiere a few days ago, where some of the real choirs sang beautifully on the red carpet, I thought I’d go in the other direction in this week’s column by looking at three fabulously dark thrillers. One’s a true story, one’s science-fiction, whilst Elisabeth Moss kicks things off with a fascinating hybrid that’s a must-see. Enjoy!
FILMS ON THE BIG SCREEN THIS WEEK
The name THE INVISIBLE MAN might be familiar but that’s the only thing about this new take on the HG Wells classic that you’ll have seen before. Instead of focusing on a male scientist tinkering away in his lab and coming with a miracle formula, this new version concentrates instead on his anxious girlfriend Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss), on the run from her tyrannical genius partner, but up against a superpower that means he really could be stalking her anywhere, anytime.
Elisebeth stars as Cecilia
It’s a switch of formula that works a treat. Suddenly an old story - once planned to be a more conventional movie starring Johnny Depp - becomes a relevant and contemporary thriller for the #metoo era. As Cecilia says at one point, when describing the mind-games played on her by boffin boyfriend, “This is what he does. He makes me feel like I’m the crazy one”. Fresh from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, Moss could barely have been a better choice for the role.
As much as THE INVISIBLE MAN is about what we see - or don’t see - it’s also a masterclass in film sound. Silence hasn’t been used this terrifyingly since Emily Blunt’s A Quiet Place a couple of years back (scroll down for more information on its upcoming sequel). Yet whilst it’s definitely creepy - and comes from the producer of all those Paranormal Activity movies - THE INVISIBLE MAN is more than a horror film. It’s about a woman trying to convince a bunch of people (mainly men) that she’s being abused. So you’ll jump watching it in the cinema, yes... but its message will stick with you well after the end credits have disappeared.
THE INVISIBLE MAN  is at cinemas now.
WATCH: Invisible Man trailer
FILMS ON THE SMALL SCREEN THIS WEEK
Sandwiched in between roles as a real-life pioneering author (2018’s Colette) and a real-life pioneering campaigner (next month’s Misbehaviour), Keira Knightley gives us another real-life pioneer in OFFICIAL SECRETS. This time it’s whistleblower Katherine Gunn, a British spy who - in 2003 - leaked a confidential memo about the upcoming war in Iraq to the press. The result? What was already a controversial conflict started to look even more questionable, whilst Katherine’s life was turned upside down.
WATCH: Official Secrets trailer
Keira leads an elegant cast: Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig and Jeremy Northam as legal heavyweights; Matt Smith, Matthew Goode and Rhys Ifans as journalists. They’re all playing actual people who had key roles in this major political scandal and their careful performances add to an impressively moody tone. Think soft lighting, haunting music and sobering dialogue.
Okay, sometimes that dialogue might be a little too blunt and it’s fair to say that the last third of OFFICIAL SECRETS isn’t quite as gripping as the first two. But this is a true story. It happened as it happened, not to neatly fit our expectations. And whilst comparable films such as Spotlight and Tinker Tailor Solider Spy might have had more awards success, OFFICIAL SECRETS tells another alarming news story with similar panache.
OFFICIAL SECRETS  is out now to rent and buy on Amazon Prime
FILMS COMING SOON
Few actors would be able to seamlessly switch from Mary Poppins to battling aliens but Emily Blunt makes everything look easy. And after the huge success of the first film a couple of years ago, A QUIET PLACE PART II sees the return of the Abbott family (Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe), now venturing out from the safety of their home as they continue to fight for survival in a world ravaged by keen-eared extra-terrestrials. Prepare to spill your popcorn.
WATCH: A Quiet Place Part II trailer
A QUIET PLACE PART II [Cert TBC] is released in the UK on 20th March.