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TIFF 2018 Capsule Movie Reviews

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TIFF 2018 Capsule Movie Reviews


Director Wash Westmoreland does an adequate job of presenting the difficult relationship between two authors, although only goes into the bare minimum as the movie hops from year to year. Keira Knightley and Dominic West turn in strong performances and the production is lavishly mounted, but the participants aren’t explored as much as they could be. The film wants to focus on multiple topics at once, including Colette’s repressed sexual identity as well as the subject of credit. As soon as the story seems like it will center on an interesting plot point, Westmoreland cuts to a period of time later. Even explaining why Colette’s books became a cultural phenomenon in France isn’t analysed to its fullest potential. (B-)


Assassination Nation

There is an attempt to look at how social media affects peoples’ lives in a satirical manner, but the movie mostly descends into senseless violence. When the movie begins with a montage, unironically touting its “triggers”, it doesn’t take long to realise the tone the filmmakers wish to set. For a brief moment, it seems like Assassination Nation will have a genuine critique about how privacy is no longer respected. However, that disappears quickly to make way for carnage. The movie is impressively photographed, including a clever one shot looking into a house. However, the editing is messy and the dialogue falls into obnoxiousness. The actors are game, but the film is a difficult sit for reasons beyond what the director intended. (D+)


The Sisters Brothers

Playing with the western format, part of the appeal of The Sisters Brothers is seeing the contrast between John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix’s cowboys. This is very much a story about siblings and while there are gunfights, this is a quieter western than one might expect. Director Jacques Audiard has a real knowledge about the genre’s conventions and knows how to utilise them. Reilly is sympathetic as he attempts to take care of his younger brother and the subplot with Riz Ahmed’s chemist is tied in nicely to the central storyline. And of course, like many a western, part of the appeal is seeing the wide open spaces of the frontier, beautifully filmed. (B)



Nicole Kidman disappears into the role of a detective dealing with both her past and present. There are three central storylines running through the film and each of them is captivating. The movie feels like it would have fit right in during the early 2000s indie film scene, but in a good way. The flashbacks are cleverly integrated into the present with Kidman effectively playing Detective Bell’s younger and current self. The mystery is an intriguing one with some solid turns throughout. Director Karyn Kusama does a good job of highlighting a different side of Los Angeles and has real command of the shoot-outs that occur. Bradley Whitford also makes an impression in a cameo role. (B+)


Stefan Ellison

Stefan Ellison