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TIFF 2014: That’s a wrap for Reel Guys at The Toronto International Film Festival

What-We-Do-In-The-Shadows-900x563By Richard Crouse & Mark Breslin – Metro Reel Guys

The Reel Guys, Richard Crouse and Mark Breslin, wrap up their coverage of TIFF with a look at Midnight Madness and the lonely characters of Foxcatcher

Richard: Mark, we’re at the tail end of the festival, a time for reflection and sleep. Every year when it winds down like this — from full throttle to a trickle almost overnight — I always think of the last line in The Usual Suspects. I’m paraphrasing, but it’s been echoing in my head today: “And like that, poof. It’s gone.” Of course it’s not quite over, but the pace is manageable for the first time since Day 1. I look back fondly on movies like The Theory of EverythingThe Imitation Game and Whiplash, but they seem like a long time ago now. Latter-half festival movies I really liked were 71 and a thriller from director Ruba Nadda called October Gale that suggests Patricia Clarkson might be up for a Liam Neeson-style action hero makeover.

Mark: I usually spend the second half of the festival watching foreign films I should have watched during the first half of the festival, having been distracted by all the stars and glitter. So let me say some great things about Labyrinth of Lies, a German film set in 1957 that tells the true story of the prosecutor who brought Germans working at Auschwitz to justice. It’s hard to fathom that the German people were in the dark about what happened there, but you can feel the horror rise in the prosecutor’s mind as he slowly realizes how many people were involved and that the rot went right to the top. Movies like this usually don’t look very good, but every shot is artfully done. The movie is gripping and important.

RC: Courtesy of the Midnight Madness program comes The Editor a giallo-comedy tribute to the films of Mario Bava and Dario Argento about a one-handed film editor who becomes the prime suspect in a brutal series of murders. It’s an odd film, but one that perfectly pays homage to the Italian horror films that inspired it. And there’s one that I’ve missed but am going to try to catch on the weekend. What We Do In The Shadows is a comedic mockumentary. Flight of the Conchords star Jemaine Clement plays one-third of a trio of vampires trying to adjust to life in a New Zealand suburb.

MB: Ahh. Midnight Madness, where the audience can be scarier than the movies. My favourite late night was spent in It Follows, about zombie-ism as a form of STD. There’s almost no gore in the film, just an overwhelming sense of dread brought on by moody atmospherics. It’s also shot with the detail of a magic realism canvas and supported by the most disturbing soundscape I’ve heard since John Carpenter’s work in the Seventies.

RC: You want disturbing? How about Channing Tatum with an under-bite and Steve Carell with a fake nose and dead eyes? Foxcatcher is a quiet, restrained film, one that demands the viewer to lean forward to appreciate, so when three loud gunshots ring out they shatter the quiet in a jarringly effective depiction of violence.

MB: What’s really scary about that movie is how horribly sad and lonely the characters are. Same thing is true for the characters in Maps to the Stars and Jason Reitman’s Men Women and Children. Affluent misery seems to be a big theme at this year’s festival.

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