Red Joan – new films coming to Portsmouth cinemas 

Ben Miles as Nick and Dame Judi Dench as Joan Stanley. Picture: PA Photo/Lionsgate Films/Nick Wall.
Ben Miles as Nick and Dame Judi Dench as Joan Stanley. Picture: PA Photo/Lionsgate Films/Nick Wall.
Share this article

Grab the popcorn for the latest releases. 

Red Joan (12A)

Dame Judi Dench plays an elderly British woman, who is accused of being a Russian spy, in a taut espionage thriller directed by Trevor Nunn.

Red Joan is based on a novel of the same name written by Jennie Rooney, which was inspired by the life of Melita Norwood.

Joan Stanley (Dench) is a softly spoken librarian, who is a beloved member of her local community.

Out of the blue, police knock at her door and Joan's grown-up son Nick (Ben Miles) is dumbfounded when authorities accuse Joan of operating as an undercover operative for the Russians for more than 50 years.

A media storm swirls around Joan and her loved ones as police attempt to extract a confession from the pensioner, who proclaims her innocence.

In flashbacks to the 1940s, Joan (now played by Sophie Cookson) attends Cambridge University, where her talents are under-estimated by virtue of her gender.

She gravitates towards a Russian student called Leo Galich (Tom Hughes), who seduces Joan and encourages her to exploit her talents for the KGB.

She subsequently secures a position as an assistant on a top-secret atom bomb research project led by Max (Stephen Campbell Moore).

Once again, Joan's abilities are squandered and she is in a position to pass secrets to the KGB via contact Sonya (Tereza Srbova).

The film stars are Stephen Campbell Moore, Sophie Cookson, Tom Hughes, Ben Miles, Nina Sosanya, Tereza Srbova and Judi Dench.

Released April 19. 

Greta (15)

Greta harks back to violent power struggles of 1990s potboilers The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and Single White Female as a 20-something American waitress and a sexagenarian French piano teacher lock horns on the mean streets of New York.

Academy Award nominee Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Grace Moretz are handsomely matched as hunter and prey, investing underwritten roles with menace and tainted innocence as cogs of a linear plot slot into place.

A claustrophobic final showdown, replete with sleight of hand, doesn't quite land with the satisfying emotional thud or rush of adrenaline that the scriptwriters promise. 

Released April 19. 

Dragged Across Concrete (18)

Writer-director Craig Zahler has taken this life lesson to heart, setting painfully long fuses on his first two films, blood-soaked western Bone Tomahawk and testosterone-fuelled riot Brawl In Cell Block 99.

His third feature adopts similar shock tactics to recount a bank robbery from multiple perspectives and tests our patience and physical stamina by adding half an hour to the bloated running time.

Dragged Across Concrete delivers plenty of scraped flesh and a lot of navel-gazing as corrupt cops and morally conflicted criminals trade bullets and wisecracks against a vivid backdrop of racial tension and economic hardship. 

Released tomorrow.