Monday

The Devil Wears Prada, Film4, 6.45pm

New graduate Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) lands a plum job as second assistant to the fearsome Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), esteemed editor of Runway magazine. Andy hopes the position will be a stepping-stone to serious political journalism and is unprepared for the immense challenges that lie ahead, catering to her tyrannical boss's every whim. David Frankel's smartly tailored adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s international best-seller is delicious. Streep glides through every frame in swathes of Galliano, Valentino and, of course, Prada, armed to her polished teeth with a dizzying array of knockout one-liners. As despicable as Miranda may be, Streep expertly reveals the chinks in her villainess' designer-label armour, showing glimmers of vulnerability beneath the impeccably coiffed facade.

Tuesday

Film of the Week

Sicario, Film 4, 9pm

In a world where normal ideas of what’s morally and politically acceptable fall by the wayside, doing what you think is the least bad thing may seem like the only practical way to achieve anything. That, or something like it, is the premise at the heart of Denis Villeneuve’s taut, deliciously cynical and black-as-night crime thriller.

Emily Blunt stars as Kate Macer, an FBI agent pitting herself against Mexican drug cartels in Arizona but making little headway. We first meet her during a bust on a house in suburban Phoenix. Two officers are killed when a booby-trapped outbuilding explodes and 40 or so bodies are found hidden behind the plywood walls, casualties of the ultra-violent drug gangs. When shadowy, flip-flop wearing Department of Defence ‘adviser’ Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) turns up at FBI HQ and asks Macer to join his task force, he promises her a way to make a difference. Rather than chip away at the lower ranks of the cartels, he intends to cut off the head. But he doesn’t want her partner Reggie Wayne (Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya) on the team. ‘No lawyers on this train,’ he drawls when he learns Wayne also has a legal degree. Later it becomes clear why that is.

And so Macer finds herself joining Graver and an inscrutable Mexican named Alejandro (Benicio del Toro at his menacing best) on a private jet to El Paso, Texas. At least that’s where she’s told she’s going. In fact she’s soon involved in a nerve-wracking journey across the border to Juarez where, in one of the film’s finest set-piece scenes, Graver and his extraction team whisk away a high-ranking member of one of the cartels. Or try to. As they head for the border and safety, the bullets start flying.

It’s a gripping watch from start to finish, as Macer gradually uncovers Graver’s game and his true identity, and finds herself with a decision to make: press on and become morally compromised or step away. But at what cost? It’s great stuff and Villeneuve expertly handles Taylor Sheridan’s script.

Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson’s throbbing, brooding, disorientating soundtrack adds to the air of menace, and the exquisite cinematography comes courtesy of legendary British lens man Roger Deakins, who has worked on most of the Coen Brothers films and would go on to shoot Villeneuve’s visually stunning Bladerunner 2049. Both men were Oscar nominated for their work here. And if you like what you see, 2018 sequel Sicario: Day Of The Soldado screens on Film 4 on Wednesday. Meanwhile a third film in the franchise, Sicario: Capos, is currently in production.

Wednesday

Whiplash, BBC Two, 11.15pm

Nineteen-year-old drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is determined to excel at his Manhattan music conservatory, so he practises night and day and catches the eye of the school's most revered teacher, Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons, currently starring in Sky hit White Lotus). The hard work pays off and Andrew transfers to Fletcher's class, but the game of one-upmanship between teacher and pupil spirals out of control as Andrew sweats blood and tears to meet the lofty expectations of his maniacal mentor. Inspired by writer-director Damien Chazelle's experiences in a fiercely competitive high-school jazz band, Whiplash is an electrifying thriller that delivers one emotional wallop after another. Teller delivers a bravura performance complemented by Simmons' jaw-dropping, Oscar-winning portrayal of the foul-mouthed, bullying conductor.

Thursday

Braveheart, GREAT! movies, 9pm

“Of course, as a director, what I really want to do is act,” quipped Mel Gibson at the 1996 Academy Awards while clutching his statuette for Best Director. This historical epic charts the life of William Wallace and his efforts to defeat Edward I – as if you didn’t know – and picked up five Oscars in all, among them Best Film, Best Director and Best Make-up (remember those ‘Woad warrior’ headlines?). For Gibson, it was a triumph, even if he never quite masters the Scottish accent. His first behind-the-camera effort, The Man Without A Face, was well-received but wasn’t Oscar material. This tale, however, was a dead-cert from the word go. It’s eye-wateringly violent, bloody and raw, and you can see in it an early sign of the director’s taste for tortured martyrs which would be more fully evinced in his violent, bloody and raw 2004 film, The Passion Of The Christ. Patrick McGoohan is Edward I, Angus Macfadyen is Robert Bruce, Gibson is Wallace, of course, and among a stellar Scottish support cast you’ll find James Cosmo, Peter Mullan, Ian Bannen, Brian Cox, Jimmy Chisholm and Tommy Flanagan.

Friday

Mid90s, Film 4, 10.50pm

Thirteen-year-old weakling Stevie (Sunny Suljic) is bullied mercilessly at home by his older and bigger brother, Ian (Lucas Hedges), whose violent outbursts cannot be controlled by their single mother, Dabney (Katherine Waterston). Consequently, Stevie keeps to himself and silently yearns to be part of a gang. He gets his wish when he walks into a skateboard shop on Motor Avenue in his hometown of Los Angeles and is taken under the wing of Ray (Na-kel Smith) and his freewheeling posse. As the youngest member of the group, Stevie gets a whistle-stop education in disruption, drug experimentation and under-age sex. This downward spiral leads Stevie on to a potentially tragic path. Mid90s is a tenderly observed coming-of-age story set during a sun-baked summer, which marks an impressive and assured directorial debut for two-time Oscar-nominated actor Jonah Hill.

And one to stream …

Surge, Netflix

Ben Whishaw, the voice of Paddington and soon to be seen reprising his role as Q in upcoming Bond film No Time To Die, takes on a very different role to those two in this gritty, low-budget drama by first-time director Aneil Karia.

Set over two days, it follows Stansted Airport customs officer Joseph (Whishaw, pictured below) as he loses it, big time, and embarks on an odyssey of self-destruction and self-discovery. There’s nothing in particular which sets him off, just a series of micro-aggressions from colleagues, encounters with difficult passengers, a desolate home life of microwave dinners and noisy neighbours, and suburban parents – Joyce (Aberdeen-born Motherland star Ellie Haddington) and Alan (Ian Gelder) – who belittle and ignore him when he visits to help install a washing machine. The only light in his life is co-worker Lily (Top Boy’s Jasmine Jobson).

Day one is Joseph’s birthday. He takes a carrot cake to work, but only Lily eats it. ‘It’s toilet,’ a co-worker mocks repeatedly. ‘It’s pauper’s cake. Whose birthday is it anyway?’ Joseph says nothing. On Day two, he finally cracks after a mentally unstable passenger confronts him and has to be restrained. And so Joseph walks out, heading into London to find Lily and beginning his spiral into criminality, violence (mostly inflicted on him rather than by him) and, ultimately, to a rapprochement of sorts with Joyce.

Surge shares much with Mike Leigh’s 1993 masterpiece Naked, though it never turns quite so bleak. Still, it’s not an easy watch either in terms of how it’s shot – there are many giddy-making scenes as Karia’s hand-held camera follows Whishaw down busy London streets – or in the intensity Whishaw brings to his portrayal of a man falling apart mentally and emotionally: dishevelled, bloodied, talking to himself and slapping his own face.

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