September 15, 2012

TIFF Day Ten

Key of Life [Japan, Kenji Uchida, 4] Unemployed actor steals the identity of an amnesiac hitman. Clever, charming comedy of selfhood, isolation and belonging.

Satellite Boy [Australia, Catriona McKenzie, 2] Young boy and pal go on an unintended walkabout when he tries to retrieve his mom from the city. Tale of truth to aboriginal roots is too sweet-natured to ever let us fear a negative outcome for its kid hero--which is death to compelling narrative.

Painless [Spain, Juan Carlos Medina, 4] Surgeon's quest for a bone marrow donor leads him to a strange case from the 30s, when a group of children were institutionalized due to a disorder rendering them immune to pain. Horror-tinged mystery takes the political themes of Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth a step further.

Shanghai [India, Dibakar Banerjee, 4] Official shows more diligence than his bosses expect when they assign him a token enquiry into an assassination attempt on a famous activist. Crackling, vibrant political thriller represents a big step forward for Indian indie cinema.

Outrage Beyond [Japan, Takeshi Kitano, 4] Oily cop connives to curb a yakuza gang by springing from prison a supposedly dead former nemesis (Beat Takeshi), who is getting too old for this shit. Slow burn, followed by stoic ultraviolence.