Four new films to see this week

The Bikeriders, The Exorcism, Green Border, Something in the Water

Jodie Comer and Austin Butler in The Bikeriders. Photograph: Focus Features

The Bikeriders ★★★★☆

Directed by Jeff Nichols. Starring Jodie Comer, Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, Michael Shannon, Mike Faist, Boyd Holbrook, Damon Herriman, Beau Knapp, Emory Cohen. 15A cert, gen release, 116 min

Fascinating study of biker culture in 1960s midwest America that plays out through a serious of gripping vignettes. There is little sense of director Nichols connecting spiritually with this world. Still images promise a degree of homoeroticism, but anyone looking for shades of Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising is in for a disappointment. The atmosphere is, however, relentlessly maintained and the actors give it some vroom. Hardy’s character consciously imitates Brando and Comer is impressively eccentric as she looks back on life in a man’s world. The Bikeriders doesn’t quite believe in its myth, but it still finds time to dappen a handkerchief as its shadow recedes. Full review DC

The Exorcism ★★★★☆

Russell Crowe in The Exorcism. Photograph: Lightsavior Productions, LLC/Vertigo Releasing/Fred Norris

Directed by Joshua John Miller. Starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Simpkins, Sam Worthington, Chloe Bailey, Adam Goldberg, Adrian Pasdar, David Hyde Pierce. 16 cert, gen release, 95 min

Crowe is simultaneously bruised and bruising as a washed-up actor who is cast in what looks like a remake of The Exorcist. He’s attended by his recently expelled and estranged daughter (Simpkins), who he hires to help him with his lines. Working from a clever script co-written by MA Fortin, Joshua John Miller — son of Exorcist star Jason Miller — utilises the stygian gloom of the horror movie production and Michael Perry’s honeycombed production design to blur the lines between external drama and inner torment. This fascinating exercise is enough to make the recent inferior reboot look genuinely cursed. Full review TB

Green Border ★★★★★

Green Border. Photograph: Modern Films/Agata Kubis

Directed by Agnieszka Holland. Starring Jalal Altawil, Maja Ostaszewska, Behi Djanati Atai, Mohamad Al Rashi, Dalia Naous. Limited release, 152 min

Holland directs this muscular, urgent dramatisation of the recent refugee crisis across the no man’s land of the title. For one Syrian family - including Bashir (Altawil), mother Amina (Naous), Amina’s father (Al Rash), and their three children - it is impossible to distinguish between east Poland and western Belarus; their destination, as a title card reminds us, is simply Europe. Composed of testimonies from surviving migrants, Green Border is an unsparing watch eerily counterpointed by cinematographer Tomasz Naumiuk’s beautiful monochrome compositions. Geopolitics are revealed in a slow, sometimes skewed drip feed. Essential viewing. Full review TB

Something in the Water ★★☆☆☆

Something in the Water. Photograph: StudioCanal/Carlos Rodriguez

Directed by Hayley Easton Street. Starring Lauren Lyle, Hiftu Quasem, Nicole Rieko Setsuko, Natalie Mitson. 15A cert, gen release, 86 min

Someone approaches you with the four-word pitch: “Bridget Jones with sharks!” You wouldn’t throw them straight out of the office. Right? Unfortunately the characterisation here is so thin and the dialogue so clunky that the thing plays more like one of those ’60s surf horrors — Cannibal Martians at Wipeout Cove — that invited drive-in audiences to speculate as to which beach denizen deserved to get eaten first (usually a hard question to answer). But with less then enough action. There’s just too much floatin’ and not enough munchin’. Call it The Daft of the Medusa. Full review DC

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Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic