The White Tiger has an energy and deep sadness that will leave you thinking about it long after the credits roll


(15) 126mins


IT is a tale as old as the days of Dickens – a man desperate to break free from the poverty he has been born into.

He wants to be accepted in a world of wealth, someone deemed worthy of great expectations.

But while the basic storyline to The White Tiger has been told many times before, this film brings something more.

It has an enthralling energy and deep sadness that will have you thinking about it long after the credits roll.

The adaptation of the 2008 best-seller and Booker Prize-winning novel by Aravind Adiga starts in the slums of India, where a boy called Balram grows up with a longing for a different life.

Such darkness

He doesn’t want to work for nothing and live in a hut with his huge family. He wants more.

Balram does not enter a TV game show, though.

Unlike Danny Boyle’s film Slumdog Millionaire — which is like a fairy tale in comparison — The White Tiger shows just how money is often made in India: Crime, corruption and exploitation.

And Balram is not afraid of breaking the law to break free.

Adarsh Gourav gives an outstanding performance as lead Balram, who is compared to a rare white tiger by his village teacher as he shows such academic potential.

Getting a job as a driver to an Indian mafia family, he decides that his way to wealth is through the youngest and more liberal son (Rajkummar Rao) and his Indian-American wife Pinky (Priyanka Chopra).

Balram becomes their servant, consistently showing he is completely devoted to them and smiling relentlessly.

And what a smile it is. But behind his nodding, sweet grin is such darkness and resentment that can be unleashed with such a force it will give even this criminal family a shock.

The pace is fast, the voiceover engaging and some of the performances so realistic it feels like you could be watching a documentary.

While director Ramin Bahrani has done a superb job adapting this much-loved book, he is a little too faithful, with some scenes stalling the flow and falling a bit flat. This absorbing, engaging and thought-provoking movie is a true insight into the lengths a man will go to, driven by the desire to break free from the shackles of poverty.

  • Out now on Netflix


(12) 93mins


WATCHING the story of the early days of China’s initial Covid outbreak might be the last thing you fancy during lockdown.

But put aside pandemic fatigue for this deeply affecting documentary. Filmed in Wuhan’s hospitals across February and March 2020, the harrowing fly-on-the-wall account transports you to the terrifying epicentre of the virus.

As the infection takes hold, cameras witness the panic and chaos on already-full wards as frightened patients hammer on locked doors. Despite the distress and heart-wrenching grief borne out as life after life is claimed, director Hao Wu ensures it is the courage and calm devotion of those caring for patients, the “fearless soldiers” that prevails.

Be it for “grandad”, a sobbing OAP fisherman who eventually recovers, a young first-time mum quarantined from her newborn daughter, or a dying grandma, clutching the hand of a nurse, the tenderness and dedication of the exhausted staff is very moving. As they are clad in PPE, we rarely see their faces or learn their names, and there are no interviews or commentary. Unforgettable, important and historically significant footage.

  • Streaming at


  • A PREQUEL to Charlie And The Chocolate Factory will be directed by Paul King and out in 2023.
  • Steven Knight, the creator of Peaky Blinders, will continue the story in a movie, after the hit TV series ends.
  • Matt Damon, right, is set to star alongside Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Chris Pratt in Thor: Love And Thunder.


(15) 91mins


THERE are plenty of comedies about modern and freaked-out parents-to-be – but this offering from director Curtis Vowell holds its own in the genre.

Free-spirited New Zealand couple Zoe (comedian Rose Matafeo) and Tim (Harry Potter’s Matthew Lewis) both work as tree surgeons and are preparing for the World Tree Climbing Championships in Vancouver.

But a little pink line on a pregnancy test changes all that. While Zoe stays in denial about her growing bump – still wanting to swing from trees and travel to Canada – Tim fits into the now clichéd character of manchild-becomes-dad, by knuckling down to put preparation in place.

There are a few laugh-out-loud moments in this romcom, one being when Zoe tries to arrange a threesome with her best friend, but the whole thing is ruined when the baby bump is unleashed.

While the couple are often sweet, they can also be a little annoying – being rude at parties, abandoning each other and overdoing the “kooky mates” side of their relationship. The breakout star from this is Matafeo, who I can imagine Knocked Up writer Judd Apatow will have an eye on already.

  •  Released on all digital platforms

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