Toronto International Film Festival – Day zero: Buried in movies

From today and for the entire length of the TIFF, I’ll be blogging about the most interesting aspects of the most popular film festival out there. It’s not Cannes, but then again, can you name the latest winner of the Palm D’Or? I’ll give you a hand: “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” by Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

This year is TIFF biggest year ever, to the point Clint Eastwood and Bruce Springsteen will be in Toronto presenting movies. A total of 300 films will be concentrated in eleven days, not to mention innumerable press conferences, public appearances, free activities, and dozens of filmmakers hoping their flicks will be picked up by a distributor.

I had the chance to see two movies that will be premiering at TIFF in advance. “Buried” is a tour de force for its star, Ryan Reynolds. A comedy specialist whose acting chops are rarely on display, Reynolds plays a man locked in a coffin and buried. His story slowly comes out: He is a trucker working in Iraq whose convoy was attacked. The trucker’s only tools to somehow prevent his death are a lighter and a semi charged cell phone.

Despite the fact we never see anything else but Ryan Reynolds and the coffin, “Buried” is gripping. Turns out, a lot things can happen inside a wooden box six feet under (the least I say, the better). Reynolds does a fine job embodying the anger, horror and anxiety that come with the situation. It’s not a transcendental piece, but darn if you won’t be entertained.

“Made in Dagenham” is one of those social-oriented flicks the British do so well. Tells the story of the hundred or so women employed by Ford Dagenham who went on strike in an effort to be paid as much as the men. “Made in Dagenham” is hardly groundbreaking, but the female cast does an amazing job with Sally Hawkins (“Happy Go Lucky”) and Miranda Richardson as the standouts. More than anti-establishment, the film is pro-working class. The only problem is that the story has been embellished in order to make it more palatable. Check Wikipedia after watching the film and find out the real outcome of the strike.

Tomorrow, the latest of Javier Bardem and the intrinsically Canadian “Score: A Hockey Musical”. And perhaps some more of Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.

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