Plenty of powerful drama in cinemas this weekend.

Waves ****

Writer-director Trey Edward Shults' drama Waves, a family story told in two parts, is dizzyingly ambitious and, at times, almost overwhelmingly intense.

This is the third feature film from the exceptional 31-year-old Texan filmmaker, following Krishna and It Comes at Night, and it's a hard-hitting cinematic experience that has a long-lasting impact.

Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) is a high school senior who appears to have it all - a successful wrestling career that could see him land a prestigious college scholarship, a beautiful girlfriend Alexis (Alexa Demie) and a seemingly supportive, loving family. Read our full review here. 

Just Mercy ***1/2

Just Mercy's formulaic narrative imprisons itself in the first act, distracting from the powerful real-life story and sobering account of a wrongly convicted death row inmate.

Co-written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12, The Glass Castle), alongside Andrew Lanham, the poignant offering is adapted from social justice activist Bryan Stevenson's (played here by Michael B. Jordan) book about the fractured prison system in the state of Alabama, and the judicial abuses that have ensnared many people, particularly minorities.

In 1987, the innocent Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx) was charged with the murder of a white teenage girl and placed on death row before his trial had even begun. The more Stevenson probed the case, the more the evidence and testimonies highlighted the frightful racial bias that exists in the corrupt judicial system. Read our full review here.

Bombshell ***

With the success of recent miniseries The Loudest Voice, alongside 2018's damning documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes, it was always going to be challenging to make a big bang with another exposé of the former Fox head honcho, who died in 2017. 

Written by Charles Randolph (The Big Short), Bombshell is told from the perspectives of two women who experienced firsthand the toxic atmosphere and culture of male supremacy presided over by the disgraced CEO at the network.

In 2016, Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) sued Ailes (John Lithgow) for sexual harassment, claiming she had been fired for rebuffing his advances. Read our full review here.

A Hidden Life ***

Terrence Malick's film about a true-life Austrian farmer who became a conscientious objector during WWII looks great - but it's over-long and offers little insight into the act of martyrdom.

Franz Jägerstätter (played here by August Diehl) lives in a rural village that was initially bypassed by the country's annexation by Germany in 1938.

After being called to basic army training, which he submitted to without dissent, Jägerstätter subsequently refuses to go along with the gradual nazification of the village. Gradually, he becomes ostracised by long-time friends and neighbours. Read our full review here.

Still Showing:

Uncut Gems *****

It is rare that a film as relentlessly propulsive and uniquely gripping as Uncut Gems comes along - probably about as rare and mesmerising as the uncut opal around which a lot of the action centres in this high-octane thriller.

From acclaimed sibling filmmaking duo Josh and Benny Safdie, who were behind the excellent 2017 crime drama Good Time starring Robert Pattinson, Uncut Gems similarly thrives on chaos and a mounting sense of stress that verges on panic-inducing.

Adam Sandler is fully immersed in the role of Howard Ratner, a fast-talking Manhattan diamond district jeweller who funds his compulsive gambling habit with increasingly high stakes dodgy dealings. Read our full review here.

1917 *****

This is the film Sam Mendes should've made after Skyfall. For many, he'll never make better.

A heart-in-mouth race against time, the most personal of tributes and the warning from history that we can't hear often enough, 1917 will leave its mark on viewers in different ways. Hopefully the same will still hold true in another 103 years.

Set in springtime on the Western Front, Mendes' film is inspired by the service and stories of his WWI veteran grandfather and focuses on two men among the masses. Read our full review here.

Seberg ****

Seberg is a thoughtfully intelligent film, dealing with American actress Jean Seberg's tragic Hollywood years, 1968 to 1971, following her reinvention in Paris in the Jean-Luc Godard classic, À Bout de Souffle (Breathless).

Director Benedict Andrews exercises caution by eschewing the whole story, the additional dramatic events that befell the Iowa-born actress who took her own life at the age of 40 in 1979. Any quick search online will reveal material that a less subtle director would seize upon as added value for melodrama.

Kristen Stewart is mesmeric as the eponymous actress and her performance suggests Oscar material. Read our full review here.