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Film and TV


Suranne Jones in Vigil

“Why aren’t more things set on submarines?”, says Ed Cumming in The Independent. BBC1’s new six-part Sunday blockbuster is a high-pressure murder-mystery cracker: an underwater detective conspiracy thriller, “Line of Das Booty”. HMS Vigil is a fictional Vanguard-class submarine, a quarter of the UK’s continuous at-sea deterrent. Crew member Craig Burke is apoplectic when the captain won’t go to the aid of a mysteriously stricken trawler. He’s found dead in his cabin soon afterwards, in one of the least credible “suicides” you’ll see. Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster) plays the detective sent aboard to investigate.

“What a place, and what a job,” says Ben Dowell in The Times. Based on a true-ish story, this claustrophobic thriller deserves the Line of Duty comparisons. (It’s made by the same production company and stars Martin Compston as the unfortunate Burke.) “Imagine joining the navy for sea spray, fresh air and a girl or boy in every port, and ending up here?” No light, and little oxygen. It’s sheer murder by the looks of things, and on the evidence of the confident, clever opening episode, “an autumn drama hit”.

Vigil is on BBC1 on Sunday at 9pm, and on iPlayer. Watch a trailer here.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Simu Liu as Shang-Chi

This Marvel movie is an “unexpected blast”, says Tim Robey in the Telegraph. By day, Shang-Chi (genial Canadian ex-stuntman Simu Liu), or Shaun, is a San Francisco parking valet. By night, he’s the martial artist “son of a 1,000-year-old criminal warlord called Wenwu”, out to stop dad going bad. It breaks new ground by exploring the clash of East and West – traditional and modern – on a large, explosive scale. It also has Ben Kingsley, Awkwafina, meticulously choreographed fistfights, raining fire arrows, two dragons and “basically the kitchen sink chucked in”.

The film really belongs to Tony Leung, says Shirley Li in The Atlantic. He’s not a big name here, but he’s “one of the biggest movie stars in Asia”. This is the first Marvel film, “after 24 movies”, to feature a predominantly Asian cast, which will please the franchise’s huge Chinese fan base. And Leung, star of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s masterpieces about unrequited love, is the real box-office draw. Supervillain Wenwu, an immortal man who burns villages to the ground before finding and losing the love of his life, could have been a hammy monster. But Leung’s performance “lingers long after the credits”. It’s worth buying a ticket “for the villain alone”.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in cinemas now. Watch a trailer here.