TIFF19 REVIEW: The Shadow of Violence [Calm with Horses] [2020]

That’s not you. To cross the Devers family is to earn retribution. This is a known fact to all in the rural Irish town of Glanbeigh. Some strangers arrive and overstep their bounds without knowing (as if getting involved with drug dealers was an act whose danger can be unknown), but most everyone knows everyone else’s name and where to find them. So when it’s Fannigan’s (Liam Carney) turn to “make good” on a transgression, he doesn’t try to run. He sits in his chair as Douglas “Arm” Armstrong (Cosmo…

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REVIEW: American Animals [2018]

Like what? The more you hear about privileged white kids shooting-up schools because they’re under such “debilitating” pressure alienating them from the “cool” kids, turn “alt-right” with a projection of hatred that stems from a hatred in themselves courtesy of a false notion that they’re somehow “special,” and find themselves acting out of boredom in an attempt to cry for help, the more you have to look at the over-arching issues: community, upbringing, parentage. Too often we hear “He was such a good boy” from family, friends, and pillars of…

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REVIEW: The Killing of a Sacred Deer [2017]

You’re too young to worry. Writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos is an artist who deals with consequences through elaborately skewed and often-uncomfortable scenarios just left of the off-putting spot that’s just left of center. He uses absurdity and humor to provoke us in order for his complex existential and social messages to hit home in a way strict realism never could. His films are thus morality plays of sorts pitting characters against one another in a puzzle that may or may not be of their own choosing. They are presented with a…

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REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

“He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties just as they provided a newfound and tangible hope for victory. It’s glory or despair that’s highlighted depending on whose perspective the story adheres because we want to witness the emotional gray areas of melancholy…

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