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Film reviews: A Royal Affair | Polisse | Kosmos | Fast Girls | The Turin Horse | Red Lights

Mads Mikkelsen stars in 'A Royal Affair.' Picture: Getty

Mads Mikkelsen stars in 'A Royal Affair.' Picture: Getty

SIOBHAN Synnot casts her eye over some of the newer cinematic releases.

A Royal Affair (15)

Rating: ***

James Bond villain Mads Mikkelsen stars in this beautifully shot recreation of the Danish monarchy’s greatest scandal. Mind you, he’s about 20 years too old to play Johann Friedrich Struensee, the German doctor appointed to attend the mentally ill King Christian VII (Mikke Boe Følsgaard). Besides galvanising the king into a programme of socialist reforms, Struensee fast-tracks himself to political power and enjoys a treasonous affair with the king’s bright, lonely consort Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander), sister of our George III. Contains enough sex, political manipulation, idealism and betrayal to keep the wheels spinning for two hours – plus bonus points for trying to capture some of the rhythms and reasoning of the period.

Glasgow Film Theatre from Friday

Polisse (15)

Rating: ***

French model/actress Maïwenn stretches out with a fly-on-the-wall drama about the child protection unit within the Paris police force. Cutting between some of the unit’s traumatised case work and the dysfunctional personal lives of the agents, it’s messy, immersive and vital.

Glasgow Film Theatre from Friday

Kosmos (12A)

Rating: ***

Turkish director Reha Erdem compiles a surreal hodgepodge of unfiltered storytelling, which requires perseverance but might appeal if your taste runs to pleasant bewilderment. Kosmos (Sermet Yesil, below) appears to be some sort of holy fool with healing powers who is taken in by a grateful community. Good luck untangling the welter of subplots.

On selected release from Friday

Fast Girls (12A)

Rating: **

A late entry to Olympic fever written by the opportunistic Noel Clarke, this follows rival sprinters entering the women’s 4x100m relay. It’s nice to see a bit of girl power, but Clarke is a prolific writer of clichés and sassy running babes are just the latest addition to an undistinguished collection. The target tween audience deserve something less formulaic and trite.

On general release from Friday

The Turin Horse (15)

Rating: **

Béla Tarr, the Hungarian zen master of slow cinema, directs a rigorously long, sleepy depiction of rural poverty where potatoes are eaten with the ritualistic concentration of a Japanese tea ceremony, the wind blows, and horses are stubborn. Rumoured to be his last picture, this reverently photographed monotony is closer to caricature than a final valedictory artwork.

Filmhouse, Edinburgh, from Friday

Red Lights (15)

Rating: **

Two years ago Rodrigo Cortes put Ryan Reynolds in a coffin and made Buried, one of the neatest movies of the year. Red Lights has a bigger budget and even bigger stars with Sigourney Weaver and Cillian Murphy as ghostbusters debunking supernatural fraudsters, and Robert de Niro as a blind psychic. Never a dull moment, but rarely a good one either.

On general release from Friday

 

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