Gemma Bovery (15)

three stars

Dir: Anne Fontaine

With: Gemma Arterton, Fabrice Luchini

Runtime: 99 minutes

THERE is a change in the spelling of the heroine’s name, but the bare bones of Flaubert’s story remain. Gemma Bovery (Gemma Arterton) has moved with her husband from London to the French countryside in search of the good life. But all she finds is boredom, leaks in the roof and mice, and the husband who once seemed so dashing is, like the roof, now rather worn. Enter, stage left, a charming, rich young man who like Gemma is in search of distraction. This is Flaubert by way of Posy Simmond’s graphic novel, so expect plenty of sly wit, most of it provided by Fabrice Luchini as Gemma’s neighbour, a man who looks on les Anglais and the French with the same unforgiving gaze. The conceit is nicely done, with Arterton and Luchini making a moreish combination of passion and wariness.

Pressure (15)

three stars

Dir: Ron Scalpello

With: Matthew Goode, Danny Huston

Runtime: 89 minutes

RON Scalpello’s deep sea drama had its premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival in February. It has had to wait for a release slot because of a clash with the similarly themed, Jude Law-led drama, Black Sea. With the Kevin Macdonald-directed piece now only memorable for Law’s curious Scots accent (Aberdeen? Edinburgh? Atlantis?), Pressure is the superior film of the two, largely due to the performances of a cast that includes Danny Huston (21 Grams, Children of Men) and Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game, Downton Abbey). Even this duo, however, cannot quite make up for a tale that starts off at a great lick only to become increasingly thin as the 89 minutes wear on. It is asking a lot of any director to put a group of men in a diving bell and sustain the same level of tension throughout. Scalpello, here making his second feature, does not manage it, though it is not for want of trying.