Four new films to see in cinemas this weekend

The Last Duel, Arracht, The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, Venom: Let There Be Carnage

THE LAST DUEL ★★★★☆
Directed by Ridley Scott. Starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, Ben Affleck, Marton Csokas, Harriet Walter, Nathaniel Parker, Adam Nagiatis, Alex Lawther, Clare Dunne. 18 cert, gen release, 153 min
Gripping, gnarly medieval drama concerning the angry dispute between two noblemen in 14th-century France. Damon is earthy as Jean de Carrouges. Driver urbane as Jacques Le Gris. Comer is electrifying as Marguerite, Jean's wife. When Jacques rapes her, she gets caught up in a process that values property and male "honour" over a woman's suffering. Told in three contradictory versions by the involved parties, the film is more serious in its intent than we have a right to expect from a studio costume picture. The woman is ultimately centred, but it does end with the expected brawl. Full review DC

ARRACHT ★★★★☆
Directed by Tom Sullivan. Starring Dónall Ó Héalai, Saise Ní Chuinn, Dara Devaney, Michael McElhatton, Peter Coonan, Eoin O'Dubhghall. 12A, limited release, 90 min

Terrific Irish-language Famine drama. The excellent Ó Héalai plays a struggling fisherman who, though not fond of the booze himself, does a sideline in the area's best poitín. As the film begins, we are made aware that the blight is already making its poisonous way across the west. Rents are rising. The authorities are not sympathetic. A violent crisis upends his life and we are propelled into even greater horror. Though less immediately accessible than the domestic hit Black 47, Arracht beds deeper in the psyche. Spooky, oblique, angry. Full review DC

THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURIDICE GUSMAO/A VIDA INVISÍVEL ★★★★★
Directed by Karim Aïnouz. Starring Carol Duarte, Julia Stockler, Gregorio Duvivier, Bárbara Santos, Flávia Gusmão, Maria Manoella. Limited release, 139 min

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Two sisters war with a resistant male-dominated society in 1950s Rio de Janeiro. This long-delayed release of the winner of Un Certain Regard at Cannes 2019 is worth waiting for. A lush old-school melodrama featuring long-suffering women, period costumes, and an epic temporal span that begins in 1950s Rio, The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao strikes the perfect balance between awards bait and telenovela. Cinematographer Hélène Louvart finds a lavish seam to offset the miserabilism. They don't often make them like this anymore. Full review TB

VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE **
Directed by Andy Serkis. Starring Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, Woody Harrelson. 15A cert, gen release, 97 min

Follow-up to the unexpectedly huge Spider-Man spinoff starring Hardy as Eddie Brock and his huge-mouthed arachnid alter-ego. Composed entirely of scenes that require obscure mathematical units – the introduction to Woody Harrelson's bad guy lasts nanoseconds; a decisive domestic bust-up between Eddie and Brock lasts a flurry of indecipherable picoseconds – it's an impressionistic flurry designed to make those aged 8+ feel as if they are having a seizure. Fair enough. But that fierce kineticism fails to coalesce into a quasi-coherent sequel. Venom 2 is certainly riotous, but where did the fun go? Full review TB