September 09, 2018

TIFF18: Taiwanese Cyberpunk & A Triple-Header of Crime Sub-Genres

Capsule reviews and notes from day three of the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Accused (Argentina, Gonzalo Tobal, 4) Upper middle class family endures the pressure cooker of the college-age daughter’s media circus murder trial. Though the suspense revolves around the courtroom scenes, the family’s emotional world takes the main focus here.

As the disclaimer card at the beginning doesn’t quite say, any similarity to the Amanda Knox case is strictly coincidental.

The Wedding Guest (UK, Michael Winterbottom, 4) Kidnapper-for-hire (Dev Patel) goes to Pakistan to abduct a young woman (Radhika Apte) on the eve of a forced marriage, so she can be reunited with her Anglo-Indian boyfriend. South Asian setting finds a fresh spin on the fugitive couple sub-genre, abetted by Winterbottom’s usual flair for atmospherics.

Heartbound (Denmark, Janus Metz & Sine Plambech, 3.5) Documentary follows 10 years in the lives of Thai women who marry men in a northern Danish fishing town. Starts by showing that these relationships are more nuanced than you might want to assume, before discovering that life will get you no matter where you go.

The Factory (Russia, Yury Bykov, 4) Aggrieved workers kidnap the local oligarch after he announced the shuttering of their deteriorating factory. Knows that the key to a hostage flick is to keep changing the status quo, so it never devolves into a static situation.

To describe this as a gritty Russian crime drama would imply that there is some other variety. I know you’re not here for that kind of nonsense.

Cities of Last Things (Taiwan, Ho Wi Ding, 4) An ex-cop’s violent vengeance in a cyberpunk future is later explained by events occurring to his younger selves In our present and past.

Capsule review boilerplate: Ratings are out of 5. I’ll be collecting these reviews in order of preference in a master post the Monday after the fest. Films shown on the festival circuit will appear in theaters, streaming platforms and DVD over the next year plus. If you’ve heard of a film showing at TIFF, I’m probably waiting to see it during its upcoming conventional release.