September 09, 2014

TIFF Mon Sept 8: Good cop, bad cop, mutagenic purple mist

Monday is when the weaker entries start to sneak in. Today's ratings looked like they were going to pull down the overall average. But then I ended on my favorite so far, so complaint would be churlish.

Don't Breathe [Georgia, Nino Kirtadz√©, 3.5] Energy company middle manager, his friends and family wildly overreact to his bursitis diagnosis. Naturalistic drama with comedic touches explores the Eastern European appetite for doom.

Two Shots Fired [Argentina, Martin Rejtman, 3] A teenager failed attempt to shoot himself to death is just the first in a string of miscommunications involving an ever-widening circle of characters. Ultra-deadpan absurdist comedy could do with some kind of new angle on the director's signature style.

Waste Land [Belgium, Pieter van Hees, 1] To convince his wife to take her pregnancy to term, unstable homicide detective (Jeremie Renier) promises to quit--as soon as he closes a case involving Congolese artifact smuggling. Filmmakers have no idea how to construct a cop thriller--which they seem to realize partway through, throwing up their hands and veering off to crazytown.

This does however argue for a Jeremie Renier/Jeremy Renner buddy cop movie. They're both cops, but one of them is Jeremie Renier and the other is Jeremy Renner.

Bang Bang Baby [Canada, Jeffrey St. Jules, 3.5] Girl who dreams of singing stardom thrills when car troubles trap an Elvis-like star in her nowhere town, unaware of the mutagenic disaster about to issue from its purple mist plant. Mixes the streams of Canadian film with leaving home theme, stylized irony, and Cronenberg body horror.

Docked half a star for copping out at the end.

Musicals and quasi-musicals like this one are all over the fest this year. But I feel safe in predicting that this is the only film featuring a Peter Stormare musical number.

A Girl at My Door [South Korea, July Jung, 4.5] Alcoholic cop (Boona Dae, Cloud Atlas) transferred to serve as chief of a backwater police force creates waves when she protects the abused child of the labor broker who keeps the town working. Emotionally complex, powerfully acted, simply told drama of crossed boundaries.