September 15, 2015

TIFF 15: Tom Hiddleston Gets High, JG Ballard High

Capsule reviews and notes from the Toronto International Film Festival, Monday September 14th.

High-Rise [UK, Ben Wheatley, 5] Reserved anatomy instructor (Tom Hiddleston) moves into a brutalist apartment tower run by its strangely intrusive architect (Jeremy Irons) just before its descent into orgiastic madness. Phantasmagorical adaptation of the classic JG Ballard conjures weird beauty from the ugliest elements of 70s design.

This feels more purely a Ballard piece than Cronenberg's Crash, which was such a quintessential Toronto movie. That opening shot of a cold morning Gardiner Expressway lays bare the weird dark heart of my beautiful city. High-Rise on the other hand keeps it British to the bone--1975 Britain to be precise. The spirit of Cronenberg isn't absent but there's a bunch of Lindsay Anderson and Python in its lineage too.

February [US, Osgood Perkins, 2] An ominous force threatens two girls left behind over winter break at a private girls' school. Slow burn horror flick uses recursive structure in attempt to complicate its thin narrative. With Keirnan Shipka and Emma Roberts.

Men & Chicken [Denmark, Anders Thomas Jensen, 4] Put-upon prof and his indignant, chronically masturbating brother (Mads Mikkelsen in his most uproarious performance) discover that they have four degenerate brothers living in the remote island redoubt of their rogue geneticist biological father. Weird, hilarious and even touching comedy of twisted family ties.

The director's first film since Adam's Apples, ten years ago.





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