Toronto International Film Festival Day 3
Posted 11 September 2017
Two brief reports from films I caught over the weekend!
Yorgos Lanthimos' The
Lobster was something of a love-it-or-hate-it movie and his new film The Killing Of A Sacred Deer will
equally split audiences down the middle. Like its predecessor, TKOASD features Colin Farrell, who here gives
a blank, deadpan performance as Steven, a heart surgeon who speaks in blank,
deadpan sentences. He frequently meets an adolescent boy, Martin (Barry
Keoghan), for blank, deadpan conversations mostly about watch straps. So, as
you can see, Lanthimos has created another disturbing, dislocated and distanced
ambience for this film - and you have no idea where things are not going to go next.
After Steven invites Martin to his home to meet his equally
blank wife Anna (played by Nicole Kidman) and his two children, things spiral
completely out of control. Martin is seemingly a Bartleby-like character but as
he insinuates himself onto Steven's home and household the takes the story on
an increasingly dark and absurdly humorous turn. The less you know about the
film the better - and don't worry I've only talked about its opening ten
minutes! As it progresses it throws plenty of shocks and surprises at you, the
only problem is you're not always sure you whether you should laugh or scream
when they occur!
The German director Robert Schwentke has spent the past
decade or so working in Hollywood on big budget action movies such as Red and the Divergent trilogy, he returns to his native country for something
rather different with The Captain, a
harrowing depiction of the final days of Nazi Germany. Following Private Herold
(Max Hubacher), a Wehrmacht deserter, who chances upon an abandoned vehicle
containing food and an immaculate Nazi officer's uniform that (almost) fits
him, we are taken on a ghastly odyssey through the last days of the Reich.
Herold, impersonating an officer, gathers around himself a private army of
deserters and stragglers who quickly enact on the worst extremes of Nazi
atrocity as they cut a bloody swathe through an almost apocalyptic landscape.
This was the first ever screening of the film and the
Q&A that followed it featured a number of cast members who seemed
shell-shocked from the experience - whether this was due to the impact of the
film or that much of their screentime might have ended up on the cutting room
floor was not clear. The film certainly has some powerful moments and its
B&W photography is stunning but I couldn't help feeling that Schwentke
might need another edit or two to get the film into better shape.