Writer and director Pawel Pawlikowski’s adaptation of Douglas Kennedy’s novel The Woman in the Fifth (Saturday 18th August, 8.30pm) is an intense, moody and mysterious psycho-thriller about a writer’s descent into madness.
Ethan Hawke stars as Tom Ricks, an American writer who tells immigration he’s come to settle in Paris with his French wife and young daughter. However, it quickly becomes apparent he’s divorced from his wife and not allowed any contact with Chloe. We also get a sense all is not right with Tom, that he’s a volatile and fragile man who has had some kind of fall from grace.
It doesn’t get any better for Tom as he is robbed on a bus and ends up living in a grotty bedsit and working for dodgy Arab crime boss Sezer (Samir Guesmi). Tom is a man possessed by loneliness, despair and regret, despite being seduced by mysterious woman Margit (who lives in the 5th Arrondissement), played by Kristen Scott Thomas, and having a relationship with his boss’s girlfriend, a sweet Polish girl called Ania (Joanna Kulig).
Hawke gives a solid performance as a man only just holding on to his sanity and it’s only a matter of time before reality starts to slip away. There are plenty of twists and turns, but how it all unfolds is more interesting than where it ends up. If you don’t mind your endings ambiguous then The Woman in the Fifth is worth a good look.
Oscar Award winner Melissa Leo is one of those actresses who would walk pass you on the street without you noticing. With an accomplished list of credits, including Frozen River, 21 Grams and The Fighter, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, Leo isn’t unknown but rather she’s known more for her characters than being a famous Hollywood face with a trademark haircut.
Like The Fighter, in The Space Between (Friday 17th August, 8.30pm) she plays a character who’s tough to like but ultimately wins you over. Montine is a short tempered air hostess on her final warning at work when she gets put in charge of a 10 year old American-Pakistani boy when on 9/11 their plane is grounded flying from New York to Los Angeles. Stranded in the middle of nowhere the two begin the journey back to New York and strike up an unlikely friendship along the way. It’s a touch sentimental, but The Space Between provides some strong performances to enjoy.
Finally, if you’ve had a demanding friend then you‘ll relate to Theresa in Rialto’s British drama series Moving On. Loyalty and friendship are pushed to the limit in The Test (Monday 13th August, 8.30pm), when Theresa (Hannah Gordon) is swept off her feet by trumpet player Gabe (Corin Redgrave), while her best friend Cyn (Maggie Steed) does all she can to ruin her newfound happiness.
Have a good week, enjoy.