In JJ Abrams’s action-packed sequel to his 2009 prequel to the sci fi saga, Star Trek Into Darkness (Cert 12A) is digitally polished to within a light year of its life but doesn’t lose touch with its heritage.
Starfleet is rocked by a terrorist attack in London masterminded by the mysterious John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch).
James T Kirk (Chris Pine) who has been stripped of his captaincy and now serves under his mentor, Rear Admiral Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), becomes embroiled in the hunt for Harrison led by Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller). Predictably, Harrison doesn’t intend to surrender, so Kirk gives chase flanked by Spock (Zachary Quinto) and his Enterprise shipmates.
That’s communications officer Uhura (Zoe Saldana), navigator Pavel Chekov (Anton Yelchin), chief medical officer Dr Leonard McCoy (Karl Urban), chief engineer Montgomery Scott (Simon Pegg) and helmsman Sulu (John Cho), caught up in a race against time to stop Harrison from obliterating everyone they hold dear but success hinges on the ultimate sacrifice.
British actor Riz Ahmed is The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Cert 15), a Princeton-educated Pakistani Changez who relates in flashback how a sequence of events shattered his belief in the American Dream.
In the 2007 source novel by Mohsin Hamid, he tells his story to an unidentified American and it is not clear which one is planning to destroy the other. It’s hard to see how that ambiguity could translate to the literal medium of film.
Instead Monsoon Wedding director Mira Nair leaves little to the imagination. The American, played by Live Schreiber, is a journalist working for the CIA who believes Changez is behind the kidnap by student activists of a Western academic.
Changez takes us back to his time in New York as a hotshot Wall Street, the golden boy of hard-nosed boss Kiefer Sutherland, with an eligible girlfriend in photographer Kate Hudson.
After the attack on the Twin Towers, the mood in America turns into aggression and suspicion which Changez feels the brunt of and he eventually returns to his homeland in disillusionment.
With a compelling performance by Ahmed and beautiful cinematography by Declan Quinn, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is certainly watchable as an intelligent thriller and even contains some of that ambiguity at the end.
The writer-director of A Hijacking (Cert 15), Tobias Lindholm is part of the writing team of Borgen and brings to his second film some of the understated dramatic quality of the Danish TV hit.
Fans will also recognise some familiar faces. Johan Philip Asbaek, who plays the prime minister’s aide, Kaspar, is ship’s cook Mikkel on the MV Rozen, a Danish cargo vessel in the Indian Ocean which is hijacked by Somalian pirates.
Søren Malling (Borgen’s TV news editor, Friis) is Peter C Ludvigsen, boss of the shipping company who handles the negotations with the pirates’ spokesman Omar (Abdihakin Asgar) .
Lindholm alternates between the crew enduring horrible conditions, boredom and the fear of their unpredictable captors and the telephone negotiations between Ludvigsen and the hijacker’s spokesman (Abdihakin Asgar).
As the stand-off drags on for months the tension mounts and the psychological pressure begins to take its toll on both sides.
And then just when it seems all is resolved there is a sting in the tail.