FILM new releases

i 3 in l" F.

Downtime (15) 90 mins at t

A low-budget British movre with elevated ideas about its own importance, this erratically suspenseful stuck-in-a-lift thriller opens promisingly, with suicidal lone parent Chrissy (Susan Lynch) threatening to throw herself and her four-year-old son from the let floor of a run-down Newcastle tower block.

Action is what director Bharat Nalluri does best, so when Chrissy and her son later become trapped in a vertiginous lift shaft with her frail, elderly neighbour Pat (Birdy Sweeney) and asthmatic ex-police psychologist Rob (Paul McGann), things start looking up. Sadly, Caspar Berry's script

Going nowhere: Susan Lynch in Downtime

also features a badly written, poorly integrated romance between aggressively independent Chrissy and emotionally scarred Rob. There's also a lot of naive and largely irrelevant social comment about the alienated lives of unemployed, disaffected teenagers, whose delinquent behaviour causes the lift breakdown.

The striking Susan Lynch struggles to inject her painfully underwritten role with something approaching humanity, but Paul McGann lacks both the stature and presence to match her thankless efforts. Ultimately, one is left with a sense of overreaching, unfulfilled ambition, With only Simon Boswell's exciting score hinting at what might have been. (Nigel Floyd)

I Selected release from Fri 73 Feb.

Resurrection Man

(18) 101 mins *tt

Dealing with a series of killings in Belfast but killings unrelated to Northern Irish politics Marc Evans's Resurrection Man is a thriller which challenges attitudes towards a society saturated with media coverage of violence.

Adopting a stunning film noir style to express a gritty subject, this movie based on the novel by Eoin McNamee tells the tale of Victor, a handsome youth at the centre of a random and ruthless killing spree. Feared and admired by his colleagues, adored by his mother (Brenda Fricker) and glamorised by Ryan (James Nesbitt), a local journalist, Victor starts to believe he’s invincible. However, pride always comes before a fall, and as Victor's venerated presence gradually rises to

50 TIIEUST 6-19 Feb l998

r 1 Dead reckoning: John Hannah and Geraldine O'Rawe in Resurrection Man

greater and darker heights, danger looms for all concerned.

Portraying Northern Ireland from an arguably more disturbing perspective than normal, Resurrection Man challenges our attitudes to its politics and our growing numbness to the deaths, killings and injuries there. Through focusing on an unrelated issue a serial killer With no apparent motive other than an anger towards life we are left questioning the effect of a gun culture on Belfast’s youth.

This may be a difficult and uncomfortable film to watch, and boasts no clear—cut messages (which will alienate many), but for anyone fascinated by the ambiguities of violence, it has the power to blow the mind. (Beth Williams)

I Selected release from Fri 73 Feb.

Lucie Aubrac (12) 115 mins ***

Nobody blows up trains like the French Resistance. That point is made loud and clear in the explosive opening five minutes of Lucie Aubrac, when the Gallic secret army send an engine-load of Boche to the big sausage factory in the sky. But if you think this sounds like the prelude to two hours of gun- blazmg herOics, think again. Claude Berri’s film based on the real-life story of Resistance fighter Lucie Aubrac, who rescued her husband from the clutches of the Gestapo is a tale of quiet heroism in a tempestuous time, of love on the edge.

Carole Bouquet, the face of Chanel, is excellent in the lead. The measured emotions of her performance provide ' a deeply convincing portrayal of a strong and courageous woman dedicated to her cause and her family. Daniel Auteuil is rather overshadowed, but he plays Raymond Aubrac, the imprisoned husband, with a suppressed passion which is Quietly moving.

The film could possibly use a few more dramatic thrills to give it some pace, but as a picture of occupied France where the over-riding emotion among the people was a desire to get their ordinary lives back, Lucie Aubrac is a gentle and touching success. (Peter Ross)

l Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Fi/mhouse from Fri 6 Feb,

Carole Bouquet in Lucie Aubrac

Paws (PG) 83 mins it at *

Billy Connolly makes a startling departure from his acclaimed role alongsrde Judi Dench in Mrs Brown to star as (the voice of) a dog in this Australian/British collaboration.

PC is on a mission to deliver a computer disc. Tricky for a Jack Russell, especially when you’re being followed by the unpleasant baddie who killed your master and also wants the disc. But PC is no dumb mutt. He befriends computer whizz kid Zac, who has a voice simulator plugged into his magic machine. PC has ’done lunch’ with the dog who travelled on the space shuttle and, before we know it, his little paws are typing away at the keyboard and he manages to rig himself up to the voice box.

Boy and talking dog now set out to deliver the disc together. This creates the opportunity for some genuinely funny moments where a whole range of teenage crises from romance to problem stepfathers can be dealt With in an uncringeworthy fashion. However, shrinking Connolly into such a diminutive (if feisty) pooch is hard to come to terms with, and this isn’t helped by the fact that, as his voice emerges from those dribbling jaws, the lip-synching is distinctly unconvmcing. (Sophy Bristow)

I Selected release from Fri 73 Feb.

Fairytale: A True Story I; " (U) 98 mins meant

Typical: you wait nearly 80 years for a film based on the case of the Cottingley Fairies, and then two come along at once. Well not quite Photographing Fairies was released last year, but its bigger budgeted rival should prove more appealing to a younger audience.

ln telling a broadly Similar story of :- two imaginative young girls who cause a sensation when they capture a photographic image of fairies Fairytale manages to be more coherent, more instantly empathetic and less downbeat than the other more adult film, but there are Similarities.

In both, the existence of fairies is taken as a symbol of hope, espeCIally as the setting is in the dark days of the World War l, But as the girls begin to worry that their actions amount to a betrayal of their fairy friends, so the sensation starts to attract wider attention with celebrities like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Peter O'Toole) and Harry Houdini (Harvey Keitel) becoming involved.

A strong sense of period is maintained by director Charles Sturridge but, as With all stories of this sort, the strength lies in its ability to talk to a modern audience. This is no magical feat, more the sign of a well made, carefully judged film that provrdes moving entertainment for the family audience.(Anwar Brett)

1 General release from Fri 13 Feb.

Peter O'Toole and Harvey Keitel in Fairytale