5 things to watch this weekend – 22 to 24 March

Two unconventional robbery movies, an impish night-time odyssey and a returning gay romance. What are you watching this weekend?

Baltimore (2023)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

Eerie timing for the release of this grippingly constructed thriller about Rose Dugdale, four days after her death. Fascinatingly portrayed by Imogen Poots, Dugdale was the heiress and radicalised Oxford graduate who went on to lead the IRA gang behind one of the biggest art heists in history, breaking into the home of former Conservative MP Sir Alfred Beit in rural County Wicklow. Baltimore is the new film from Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, the ever-incisive directing couple (known as Desperate Optimists) behind prismatic dramas about dual identity such as Helen (2008) and Rose Plays Julie (2019). Here they shatter the home-invasion scenario into non-chronological fragments, including flashbacks to formative episodes in Dugdale’s past, but keep things rattling along with a firm forward momentum.

The Delinquents (2023)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

The week’s second unconventional heist drama is the story of a bank worker, Morán, with a fiendish scheme: to steal $650,000 from under the noses of his employers, give the cash to a colleague, give himself up, do the time, and then come out early on good behaviour to split the dosh. So begins Rodrigo Moreno’s The Delinquents – its ruse borrowed from the 1949 Argentinean film Hardly a Criminal. But this playful, beguiling, ultimately ecstatic three-hour drama wanders off the path, drifting away from noir territory as we follow the colleague (with the anagrammatical name of Román) out on a fool’s errand into the countryside, where the pulse of Moreno’s film slows amid fresh air and romantic opportunity. 

After Hours (1985)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

Nearly 40 years old now, and the last time Martin Scorsese made a fiction feature under 120 minutes, After Hours is his tasty, dark comic contribution to the 1980s yuppie nightmare cycle. Griffin Dunne plays NYC salaryman Paul Hackett, whose journey home through SoHo one night becomes waylaid by a chain of misadventures and oddball encounters. Scorsese’s most Buñuelian film, it’s an impish drama of surreal frustration, Murphy’s law in effect as Hackett pinballs from one hiccup to the next, meeting a string of familiar actors including Rosanna Arquette, Linda Fiorentino, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara and Teri Garr. Cheech and Chong turn up playing a pair of burglars, while Scorsese himself cameos as a nightclub light operator.

Beautiful Thing (1996)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray, iTunes and Prime Video

Beautiful Thing (1996)

Two lads growing up on a Thamesmead housing estate slowly realise they’re falling in love with each other in this fondly remembered British romantic drama from 1996. It was the first feature from Hettie Macdonald, and the last until last year’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – a film gap to rival that of recently returning Spanish master Víctor Erice, though she’s had a high-profile TV career in the meantime. Beautiful Thing keeps promising to turn into a distressing realist drama about homophobia, but in fact never does. It’s closer to a Bill Forsyth film like Gregory’s Girl (1981), depicting its central romance with great ease and magic. It all takes place over a hot British summer.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Where’s it on? BBC2, Sunday, 23:50

“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962)

Robert Aldrich set back age relations several decades with this ghoulish, gerontophobic drama about the vengeful rivalry between two old Hollywood actresses – histrionically played by real-life rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford – living in seclusion in their decaying mansion. Aldrich’s Grand Guignol horror undoubtedly took inspiration from Gloria Swanson’s has-been actress Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd (1950), but in turn kicked off a whole cycle of so-called ‘hagsploitation’ or ‘psycho-biddy’ pictures. Perhaps Roald Dahl’s grisly twosome The Twits took something from here too. From the tail end of Hollywood’s dominant black-and-white era, it’s a film of misanthropy and madhouse emotions that can still make your lips curl.