TIFF10: Day Three Recap

Day Three at TIFF was by far our craziest of the year—seeing five films back-to-back from 11AM to 2:30AM. The late start allowed for a bit of sleeping in for preparation, as well as a semi-lengthy breakfast at Timmy Ho’s, both of which probably kept us from falling asleep during the marathon sittings. And while the last two of the night finally saw a bit of humor infused into the otherwise heavy schedule of dramas that do take something out of you, the morning opened with what could have been the darkest all weekend, David Schwimmer‘s Trust.

A far cry from his directorial debut Run, Fatboy, Run, this new piece stemmed from his work with the Santa Monica Rape Treatment Center and all the people he has met there. With Department of Justice stats saying how 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the age of 18, his brief introduction gave us much needed context to the subject matter. Authentic from the opening credits with text messages superimposed on the screen as young Annie (an amazing performance from Liana Liberato) slowly discovers the 16-year old boy from California she’s chatting with is twice the age he says, the plot hits hard. It’s a rough look into the world of internet sex predators and the victims whose fragile psyches cause them to think they are in love—that no crime was committed. Kudos to Catherine Keener, Viola Davis, and especially Clive Owen for surrounding Liberato and allowing her to put a face to these tragedies happening every day. 9/10.

As a very friendly couple from Burlington said while we all waited for film number two, Rochester resident John Curran‘s Stone, there wasn’t a dry eye at the Elgin post-Trust. We all therefore hoped for a bit of a breather in the dramatic gravitas with Robert De Niro and Edward Norton‘s seeming thriller of a parole officer/parolee relationship that turns criminal when adultery for special treatment is added to the equation. But it turns out Stone is much much more than that. A spiritual tale of God speaking through sound, I still am not quite sure what to think. The performances from those two, Milla Jovovich and Frances Conroy are great and the story itself is thought-provoking at every turn … but what exactly does it all mean? I will definitely have to delve into it more once I write my review. For now, hearing Curran say how he tried to stay true to the source, a play-turned-movie, I can’t deny the respect I have for him not pandering to the mainstream. 7/10.

Our wildcard for the day came next, Peter Mullan‘s NEDS (Non-Educated Delinquents). Going in completely blind, neither of us were prepared for the length, nor extremely dire subject matter of Scotland’s street gang youths. The first half actually is as successful as it can be, showing the brutal life of bullies and victims (generally the bullies on the other side of the bridge) juxtaposed with a fantastic comedic undertone. Subtitled in order for the thick Scottish to be understood, the sense of sarcasm on behalf of the young boys’ teachers is pretty great, helping to temper the very real street fights, beatings, stabbings, and otherwise total lack of conscience. Once our lead, Conor McCarron, goes from A-plus student to delinquent extraordinaire over one summer, the humor takes a backseat to an increasingly rapid descent into hell, with no return in sight. One may say it goes too far, but I think the execution of the whole still keeps it honest. A good half hour could have been excised to hone it all in, but either way I’m glad to have stumbled into this horrifying world. 6/10.

So, after those three entries, you can believe we were both ecstatic to be seeing Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck‘s World Premiere of It’s Kind of a Funny Story. With the directors and stars (Zach Galifianakis, Keir Gilchrist, and Emma Roberts) in attendance, the film had the perfect mix of comedy and resonate life lessons, showing Craig on his five day self-committal at a mental hospital in order to stop himself from jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a wonderful ensemble cast that never treads lightly on the seriousness of depression, but also doesn’t milk it for tears or heartbreak. All the patients help hold each other up and support them through their troubles, making it a coming of age story for the teenage lead as well as the middle-aged patients attempting to take the next step in their lives. A fantastic script, stellar acting, and a memorable karaoke fantasy of Queen and Bowie’s “Under Pressure” all combine to make this one of the best films of the festival so far. 9/10.

Thankfully, since our Midnight Madness screening of Guy Moshe‘s Bunraku was at the Ryerson right after Funny Story, we enlisted former Spree intern Leah Rankin to save us a spot in line as she was in town with her journalism class to enjoy the festivities as well. The prime positioning allowed us all to sit right down front in the fourth row and revel in the eye-popping visuals unleashed onscreen. Depicting a world where guns are illegal and justice is provided by the blade, the film is a memorable meld of graphic novel and video game with bright, vibrant colors and extremely exciting fight sequences. Cast members Ron Perlman, Japanese superstar Gackt (the fanbase in attendance for him was mindblowing), Woody Harrelson, Josh Hartnett, and Kevin McKidd all came out to support their director and see their work for the first time. It’s kinetic symphony of visual splendor had the same effect on them as it did the audience, leading to a fantastic bookend to a jam-packed day of cinema at its finest. 7/10.

[1] David Schwimmer
[2] John Curran
[3] Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden, Keir Gilchrist, Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts
[4] Ron Perlman, Guy Moshe, Gackt, Woody Harrelson, Josh Hartnett, Kevin McKidd

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