TIFF was a really good experience this year, and I enjoyed the three movies that I saw. I had a conflict with hockey on Sunday and missed The Elephant Queen documentary.
22 July – is a film by Paul Greengrass, who had previously done United 93, and some Bourne films. I knew that Matt Damon liked working with him. This film is a dramatization of the events in Norway in 2011 in Oslo (bombing at Prime Ministers Office) then at the summer camp island where teens went (politically sponsored – the current PM had gone here as a youth) where 69 people were shot. The actual event takes up about a third of the film, but then there is the trial and the rehabilitation in one instance of a young man who was shot 5 times. He wants to face his assaulter in Court and provide a statement of his own, to combat the hate of this calm and deliberated racist. The film deals with the facts of the event, but the strength is with the acting (the young man and also the assailant) and playing their roles well and with respect. There are things said by the assailant that simply are incredible to hear. He is so matter-of-fact and calm. This is a Netflix film and will be available likely sooner rather than later. IMDB says it’s to be released Oct 10 in theatres.
Driven is a story about John DeLorean, the infamous GM executive (creator of the GTO) who went on his own to create the new gull-winged sports car. He was flamboyant and larger than life, and flawed at the same time. The story deliberately uses the focus of the film as his neighbor played by Jason Sudekis, as a liar and a screw up, who tries to do the right thing (well sometimes). Set in southern California at the end of the 70s, it tells the story of these two men, and how they crossed paths, and how the FBI gets involved in their lives. Ultimately DeLorean was having a cash flow problem, much like Tesla, and the solution was for DeLorean to use a cocaine deal to make up for the deficiency and ultimately keep control of his company. There are a couple of laughs. Judy Greer stands out here as Sudekis’ wife. Also Lee Pace of bad guy Guardians of the Galaxy fame. He plays the much older DeLorean well. This was fun. I enjoyed 22 July more as this was paced slower at times.
Finally, there was Kursk which is the dramatization of the Russian nuclear submarine (two football fields in size) that went down in August 2000 during Russian war games. Russia at the time was suffering economic challenges and made cut backs in military and other spending. This story covers the event and also some of the pushback made by the Russian people which was completely new for them. Russia had gone from a northern fleet of 100+ subs in the glory days to about 40. They were not well maintained, and they carried torpedos with equal treatment. They used torpedos with hydrogen peroxide, which if not maintained and leak, if it contacts metal is explosive. On the day in question, it is suspected a torpedo blew inside the Kursk and it set off even more torpedos inside which took out most of its bow. It sank. Of the 111 men on board, some survived in the back, moving to the stern for an air pocket. The Russian Navy then has an ill equipped ad maintained rescue sub that would attach to the sunken Kursk, but it isn’t connecting and it fails. The Russians refuse any assistance from Britain, US or Norway with better rescue subs. Pride is a terrible thing in the situation and the men (and their families) pay the price. I also enjoyed this a great deal. Mattias Schonnerts is here, and I have seen him in a number of TIFF films. Colin Firth has a minor role. Well worth checking out.
TIFF People’s Choice went to Green Book, which to me is a surprise as I would have thought First Man would be there. This award is a harbinger of good things to come though, as many get Oscar nods and a few of those have won in the past. The story sounds good on Green Box and Mahershala Ali seems to be the strongest of the actors (Viggo Mortenson also is good too apparently). I have not seen. Expect a flurry of these TIFF films to get to theatres in the next few weeks and months ahead. First Man is Oct 5. I will see it. Others too. I did see Julia Roberts from afar, and Maggie Glylenthaal up close for her movie Kindergarten Teacher which is a remake of an Israeli film. It looks good. Fun to be on the red carpet. Always good to see these people and all the fanfare. Another TIFF is closed and I always enjoy these Fall time to get immersed in films. Beautiful Boy, Beale Street, A Private War, Ben is Back, Burning, and others are all movies that I would seek out in time.