Padre [AKA The Padre] (2018, dir. Jonathan Sobol)

A young Columbian woman partners with an English conman in exchange for help with getting into the US. Decent little road movie/chase thriller with some quirky aspects and excellent location shooting. No game-changer, but a solid cast keeps things moving along.

I, Daniel Blake (2016, dir. Ken Loach)

A middle-aged carpenter falls foul of the UK benefits system. Clear-eyed if slightly dogmatic black comedy-drama which effectively details various struggles in the context of an unwieldy civil service, public sector cuts, the grey economy, and inflexible officialdom. Touches of Kafka counterpoint Loach’s social realist directorial approach.

Into The Ashes (2019, dir. Aaron Harvey)

A former criminal’s past life catches up with him, when old associates track him down and kill his wife. Effective low-key and slow-burn thriller with a solid cast of character actors making the most of the material. A good sense of blue-collar life, and of the inevitable consequences of revenge.

The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019, dir. Armando Iannucci)

The multiple lives (and names) of a young man. Meta riff on the Dickens novel which pretty much all hangs together. A touch too episodic – not much by way of narrative drive – but that’s all part of the pleasure, even if it means there’s some emotional distance from the characters. Everyone is obviously enjoying themselves.

Uncut Gems (2019, dir. Josh Safdie & Benny Safdie [AKA The Safdie Brothers])

A New York jeweller juggles debtors and a long-cherished opportunity with a smuggled opal. Tremendous thriller balancing multiple pressure points, gambles, crises and conflicts. Absurdly tense from its first frame, with a revelatory star performance. Plus, no-one stares a man down like Eric Bogosian here. Recommended.