Drama is the lifeblood of filmmaking. We love special effects, horror and broad comedies, but a stripped-down drama, with no frills to rely on, really cuts right to all of the things that are beautiful about cinema. Filmmakers, actors and writers all work to conjure characters and stories that touch us in ways we could never predict when first sitting down with a bucket of popcorn.
There’s a stunning array of great drama playing at AMC this year. Here are the best new dramas in theatres now and coming soon.
Ash Is Purest White
What starts out looking like a gangster movie about a mobster and his lover soon opens up into an epic melodrama that careens through a decade and a half of China’s light-speed modernization. Writer-director Jia Zhangke has made several movies about modern China, and the fact that ASH IS PUREST WHITE is kind of like his thematic greatest hits collection doesn’t make it any less of an achievement. (March 15)
THE MUSTANG is a very different take on the prison movie. Roman (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a prisoner who, we suspect, has a violent past. He’s spent a long stretch in solitary in a Nevada institution. Anxious about rejoining the general population, Roman instead ends up out in the prison stockade, shovel in hand, to clean up horse droppings. Soon, an old horse wrangler (Bruce Dern) gets Roman to train a wild mustang — and the film unfolds as a meeting of two difficult beasts who find a delicate sort of balance in life. (March 15)
Julianne Moore plays Gloria, whose days at a perfectly normal office job do not hint at the free-spirited life she enjoys at night, when she dances through Los Angeles clubs like a joyous tornado. After being divorced for a decade, Gloria has found peace in her adult life. Then, she meets Arnold (John Turturro), whose circumstances mirror her own, and her structured solo life quickly changes. Their mutual attraction develops into romance, which causes both of them to reevaluate aspects of their family lives and individual identities. (March 22)
The Best of Enemies
When a vocal civil rights activist and a Ku Klux Klan leader are tapped to co-chair a community summit meant to sort out school integration during the civil rights movement in 1971, you’d expect massive problems to arise. And they do, in this true story about Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) and C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell). But then, the story takes an incredible turn, and the pairing of these two seeming enemies turned into one of the most amazing events in North Carolina history. (April 5)
All Is True
Kenneth Branagh has dabbled in big movies like THOR and MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, but his first love was always Shakespeare. Now, he actually plays the Bard in a story about the playwright’s later years. In 1613, William Shakespeare is enjoying fame, but then his Globe Theatre burns down, leading the celebrity to return home to Stratford. There, he has to face all of the things he has pushed aside to become the 17th century equivalent of a superstar: family, tragedy and the suppressed fragments of his own past. Judi Dench appears as Shakespeare’s wife, Anne Hathaway, while Ian McKellen plays the Earl of Southampton. (May 10)
Check back in with the AMC Scene for more great new dramas!