Golda's Balcony. Whatever one's immediate prejudice against a one-actor film about Golda Meir, overcome it. Valerie Harper's performance of Meir is fully realized in acting and idea terms, and this account of events on and before the start of the Yom Kippur War is moving, even to those who are for any reason suspicious. (From the upcoming 11/5/07 issue.)

Lust, Caution. Ang Lee asks for our patience as he establishes his drama. (Ten minutes less would have helped.) But his account of the affair between a rebel young Chinese woman and a Chinese stooge of the Japanese occupiers in 1942 explodes at last--unforgettably. Lee finds a unique dramatic use for sex. (10/22/07)

Michael Clayton. Tony Gilroy, the writer-director, delves more deeply than we expect into American corporate corruption. George Clooney is engrossing as a trouble-shooter for an immense New York law firm, the writing is exceptionally vital, and the theme of considerable importance. (From the upcoming 11/5/07 issue.)

Sleuth. Filmed first in 1972, this two-character English comedy-thriller creaks a bit, but Michael Caine's assurance, Jude Law's bravura, Kenneth Branagh's generally slick directing, and an array of scenic and lighting displays keep it entertaining most of the time. (10/22/07)

--SK

By Stanley Kauffmann