The Hate U Give – a weekly round-up of the latest films

The Hate U Give is in cinemas now.
The Hate U Give is in cinemas now.

Grab the popcorn for these new releases. 

THE HATE U GIVE (12A)

Taking its title from the cautionary message inked into rapper Tupac Shakur's Thug Life tattoo, George Tillman Jr's emotionally charged drama rages against racial division and police violence in a 21st-century America which affirms its constitutional right to bear arms.

The Hate U Give is sensitively adapted by Audrey Wells from Angie Thomas's young adult novel, which chronicles the anguished rites of passage of a teenager, who finds her voice in the most tragic circumstances.

Amandla Stenberg delivers a gut-wrenching lead performance as a 16-year-old, who zigzags uncomfortably between worlds of white privilege and black indignation.

Wells' script confidently walks a tightrope between tear-stained cries from the heart and boisterous humour as it sketches the dynamics between a family living in a predominantly black neighbourhood in the chokehold of drugs and gang warfare.

"Daddy says our life is here because our people are here," explains Starr Carter (Stenberg).

She lives in Garden Heights, Georgia, with ex-con father Maverick (Russell Hornsby), who turned his back on local drug dealer King (Anthony Mackie) to raise a family with wife Lisa (Regina Hall).

The teenage heroine keeps the two sides of her existence separate until the fateful night she witnesses a white police officer shoot her unarmed childhood friend, Khalil (Algee Smith) dead.

Racked with grief, Starr shoulders a heavy burden to speak up for the deceased. However, testifying against a cop could lead to reprisals.

As protests light the fuse on a powder keg of raw emotion, Starr embraces her family's history with fierce pride.

The Hate U Give doesn't project Starr's journey of empowerment through a rose-tinted lens, pretending that one girl can magically salve the deep emotional wounds of her divided community in the space of 133 impassioned minutes.

Stenberg's powerhouse lead performance is complemented by splendid supporting turns from Hall and Hornsby, the latter falling back on teachings of the Black Panther movement to encourage his children to stand tall at the very moment they feel like admitting defeat.

Because all lives matter.

Out now. 

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (12A)

Rami Malek is hotly tipped for awards consideration for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bryan Singer's musical biopic, which charts the rise of rock band Queen and its charismatic front man.

Scripted by Anthony McCarten, who earned Oscar nominations for his screenplays for The Theory Of Everything and Darkest Hour, Bohemian Rhapsody meets lead guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee), drummer Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) and bassist John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello) as they hunt for a new lead singer.

Flamboyant showman Freddie Mercury (Malek) seizes his moment in the spotlight and he inspires the band to think outside the box with the operatic title song.

Flanked by his lifelong companion Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) and personal manager Paul Prenter (Allen Leech), Freddie creates one of the defining images of Live Aid in 1985 and also struggles to keep secret his Aids diagnosis.

Out now. 

HUNTER KILLER (12A)

When mankind stands forlornly on the brink of annihilation, Paisley-born action hero Gerard Butler proudly steps forward to shepherd every man, woman and child back from the abyss.

In the underwater thriller Hunter Killer, a rogue Russian admiral prepares to push the button on a third world war and Butler sails to our rescue as a renegade submarine captain, who repeatedly risks a court martial to perform outlandish manoeuvres hundreds of feet beneath the waves.

Director Donovan Marsh charts a familiar course through breathless action sequences and threats of mutiny.

Butler is steadfast as chaos unfolds around him and Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist makes one of his final appearances before his death from lung cancer as a stoic Russian submarine captain.

Arne Schmidt and Jamie Moss's script torpedoes subtlety and springs a few plot holes but largely keeps its head above water for two undemanding hours.

Out now.