Waitrose and Partners Weekend Issue 579

25 NOVEMB ER 2021 47 Latest reviews from The Observer’s film critic SEE IT NOW Mark Kermode at odds Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog NEW RELEASES Adapted fromThomas Savage’s 1967 novel, Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog plays out in 20sMontana, where rancher brothers Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George (Jesse Plemons) find themselves at odds over the subject of Rose (Kirsten Dunst). Awidowwith a sensitive young son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Rose catches the a ections of decent, softly spoken George, who promptlymarries her – to the outrage of his fiery brother, who viciously taunts and teases bothmother and son. But what lies at the root of Phil’s rage? Is he simply disdainful of anyone who fails to follow in themacho footsteps of his idol andmentor, ‘Bronco’ Henry? Or have his own a ections been touched in ways he would rather not face? Handsomely shot by Ari Wegner (withNewZealand standing in for the US) and inventively scored by Jonny Greenwood, Campion’s latest is an atmospheric a air – light on plot, heavy onmood. As always with this director (Palme d’Or winner for The Piano ), the devil is in the detail, whether it’s the tender weaving of a rope or the alarming castration of cattle. Cumberbatch’s performance is a revelation; I struggle to remember a previous role that has taken him so far fromhis comfort zone, particularly in a scene which puts a sinister keyboard spin on the duelling banjos of Deliverance . As for Dunst, her portrayal of a woman who once accompanied silent movies, and is now silenced by her own terror and alcoholism, is note perfect in its understatement. In cinemas now, and on Netflix from 1 December. Will Smith plays RichardWilliams, father of future tennis stars Venus and Serena, in the biographical sports drama King Richard (in cinemas). Having been portrayed inmedia as a charismatic trainer and an overbearing self-serving tyrant, Richard emerges from this not entirely uncritical crowd-pleaser as a drivenman who wants the best for his family – and himself. There’s a strong supporting turn fromAunjanue Ellis as wife-and-mother Oracene (aka Brandy), the only person who seems able to stand up to Richard, and to remind him there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’. Serena and Venus both get executive producer credits, so this definitely keeps things in the family. But Smith does a terrific job portraying a character who can be simultaneously invigorating and exasperating – qualities which were clearly needed to forge a path in the traditionally white privileged enclaves of the US tennis scene. In 2016, trolls screamed about the female-led reboot of Ghostbusters , complaining that Paul Feig’s adventure somehow defiled treasured memories. So nowwe have Ghostbusters: Afterlife , in which Jason Reitman simply regurgitates ri s and characters from the original (which his father Ivan directed) in the hope of tapping into safe fanbase nostalgia. Stranger Things star FinnWol ard plays the grandson of a legendary spook-hunter, presumably hoping to snare the younger audiences. But the dreary pile up of call-backs and cameos (some frombeyond the grave!) proves patience-testing in the extreme. @KermodeMovie BEST BOOK CHOSEN BY SARFRAZ MANZOOR Journalist, broadcaster and screenwriter American Pastoral PHI L I P ROTH Roth’s reputation has taken a battering but I am a huge fan, especially of the trilogy of novels, published in the 90s, which revisit key moments in postwar American history. This novel is about many things – politics, family, class – but above all, it is about the dark side of 60s idealism and the souring of the American Dream. It is gorgeously written with passages of breathtaking beauty älled with wisdom and pathos. new opening Seafood bliss at Haar in St Andrews ( left) EAT AT HAAR Book now for a table at Haar, MasterChef: The Professionals änalist Dean Banks’ place by the sea in St Andrews, which re-opens in new premises next week. The tasting menu celebrates Scottish produce, and includes St Andrews Bay smoked lobster with mirin butter and dulse, grass-fed beef cheek with gochujang and black garlic, and Thai green crumb cod. The menu will constantly evolve, ‘reåecting the seasons and heroing our land and seas’ says Dean. “Each guest will enjoy a sensory experience like no other, which will leave a lasting memory.” haarrestaurant.com she’d found love online but was hooked into a toxic relationship by ‘Bobby’, a ‘cardiologist fromBrighton’ who turned out to be nothing of the sort. Podcast host Alexi Mostrous talks toKirat about endless lies that convinced her the relationshipwas real, and tracks ‘Bobby’ down. FEEL FESTIVE IN CHESTER It’s Christmas market season so book a UK break – or day trip – that’s packed with festive fun. Chester has amedieval heart that’s pretty at any time, evenmore so when festooned with twinkling lights. Stroll around the Christmas market with amulled wine, visit the cathedral for carols and a Christmas tree trail, see Oliver Twist! at the Storyhouse Theatre, and have a festive afternoon tea among the fairy lights at The Townhouse Secret Garden. Be sure to leave time for an after-dark visit to the city’s famous zoo, lit up with giant animal- themed illuminations. chester.com winter fun Get your skates on and enjoy the ice at Brighton’s Royal Pavilion ( left), or head to Chester for their Christmas markets and tree trail