What to see at the cinema this March

From Jennifer Lawrence’s spy thriller to a Vivienne Westwood documentary, here are the films we’ll be lining up at the box office for this month…

The reviews

You Were Never Really Here


From Lynne Ramsey, the director of We Need To Talk About Kevin and Morvern Callar, You Were Never Really Here is a violent, absorbing and borderline obscene film about antihero Joe (Joaquin Phoenix), who works in the depraved and foggy area of ‘private security’ and is admired for his passionless, unflinching kill style.

His latest commission is finding and saving a teenage girl, the daughter of a politician, who has been lured into a sex-trafficking ring. Of course, things go horribly wrong, and the film takes an ever-downward spiral.

Phoenix is gloriously gruff and bearded, haunted by childhood abuse (which, as with many of the outer edges of this film, is never quite explained), and quietly dangerous throughout. His unexpectedly playful relationship with his elderly mother, with whom he lives, is a touching contrast to his hammer-wielding day job. Ramsey cleverly avoids indulging too much in the visceral messiness killing – there’s no morbid satisfaction here – and the gaps it leaves are all the more haunting.

It’s not for the faint-hearted, but those who brave its brutality will be rewarded.
In cinemas from 9 March

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist


This is a fascinating insight into the life, loves and rocky road to success of Britain’s most innovative fashion designer. The documentary opens with an initially reluctant Vivienne, now 76, talking about her early life with Malcolm McLaren and how they were the driving force behind Punk Rock.

Archive film is mixed with newly shot footage by visual artist Lorna Tucker, who is given unprecedented access into the home life of the woman behind the designer: an intimate portrait of Westwood the wife and mother. This is contrasted by shots of Vivienne at work, which document her constant struggle to keep her business afloat and independent, and as an eco-warrier in Antarctica with Greenpeace.

Touching interviews with her husband and design partner Andreas Kronthaler and son Joe Corré complete the picture of a many-sided woman – loving, vulnerable, forthright, opinionated – who is, without doubt, a genius and one of the great feminist icons of our time.
In cinemas from 23 March, viviennewestwoodmovie.com

On our watch list

The Square


We loved Ruben Östlund’s 2014 film Force Majeure, a compelling and intelligent tale of masculine identity and a crumbling relationship triggered by an avalanche at a ski resort, and are excited to see his first English-language film, a satire of both art and social ideals. It follows art gallery curator Christian (Claes Bang) as he sets up a new exhibition called ‘The Square’, an area outside the museum in which, upon entering, members of the public are expected to act for the greater good, a kind of tiny utopia. Various subplots unravel to pick the concept, and Christian, apart. There’s also a role for TV-actress-of-the-moment Elisabeth Moss as journalist Anne, star of last year’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Mad Men.
In cinemas from 16 March

Isle of Dogs


Fans of surrealist Moonrise Kingdom and Grand Budapest Hotel director Wes Anderson are in for a treat. Isle of Dogs is an stop-motion film about a boy’s search for his dog on an island inhabited by unwanted mutts off a future dystopian Japan, voiced by a stellar cast including Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig and Scarlett Johansson, to name just a few.
In cinemas from 30 March

Ready Player One


The year is 2045 and every thing we fear will destroy the world – climate change, energy crisis poverty, war, etc – has. The only escape for the generation born into this misery, including protagonist Wade Watts, is in virtual reality. Based on Ernest Cline’s book of the same name and directed by Steven Spielberg.
In cinemas from 29 March

Also

Red Sparrow


Jennifer Lawrence is a little hit and miss, and early reviews on this explicit spy thriller are mixed. She stars as Dominika, a ballet dancer who is forced to take a job as a sparrow – a sort of Soviet spy who uses seduction as her main weapon – after injuring her leg. Word is that the ‘Russian’ accents are terrible.
In cinemas now

Mary Magdalene


Joaquin Phoenix stars in a very different role from violent hitman Joe, Jesus, opposite Rooney Mara, who plays the titular character. From Lion director Garth Davis, it is intended to be a sympathetic retelling of the story of one of culture’s most-maligned women. In practice, we imagine it will play it pretty straight.
In cinemas from 16 March

Tomb Raider


We find it slightly scary that the original Tomb Raider (2001) is old enough to warrant a remake, and sad that it is still notable for being a big-budget action fantasy film with a female lead. Angelina Jolie’s role is taken over by Alicia Vikander, and is reportedly a more realistic version of the character, based on the recent video game reboot.
In cinemas from 16 March

Pacific Rim: Uprising


Star Wars golden boy John Boyega stars in the sequel that nobody asked for to Guillermo del Toro’s moderately successful 2013 science fiction film, without the original director and stars Idris Elba and Charlie Hunnam.
In cinemas from 23 March