Our postcard dispatches form the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival for Friday, September 12.
Your line-up this year might have some problems, but 99 Homes ain't one.
Writer/director Ramin Bahari steps out of indie obscurity to create a pointed and poignant look at the U.S. housing crash. Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon face-off in this realistic drama about how the rich get richer, and the poor get fucked. Small details, like Garfield's overgrown hair and Shannon's smart (but not slick) manipulating ground the film rather than making it feel like it's simply capitalizing on a cautionary tale du jour. It's this year's Margin Call, but with a better chance at breaking through to a wider audience.
99 Homes is essentially a horror film for home-owners. Only the ghosts are real, and they come knocking on your door with foreclosure orders.
Tu dors Nicole
A dead-pan comedy from Quebec? I never thought I'd see the day.
Having programmed so many films from La Belle Province over the years, you know Quebeckers tend to like their humour a little… broad. Big comedy franchises like Les Boys and Elvis Gratton are obvious examples, as are the annual Bye Bye New Year broadcasts, and omnipresent Just For Laughs television specials. It seems like an inordinate amount of Quebec humour comes from banana peels. Then someone like Stéphane Lafleur comes along and breaks all the rules.
Tu dors Nicole is framed and paced like a socially detached black-and-white art-house film following the circuitous summer days of two small town girls. But hints of surrealism tip off the audience to the comic absurdity. This feels like the first Echo X film, but made for a generation who is still too young to have found its own voice. Although this is pretty a darn good start.