Two TIFF Reviews

The Keyhole world premiere at TIFF went over quite well (see here for more). I had the opportunity to catch two other films over the same weekend:

360: Fernando Meirelles’ latest film is a continent-spanning, Wim Wenders-esque meditation on fidelity and perseverance in a world whose inhabitants’ stories are increasingly inter-threaded. The cinematography is beautiful, with exquisite long shots which accentuate each locale intimately, while the characters sort out their broken hearts and wandering eyes. The cast is solid: Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Rachel Weisz, and many others, with yet another gritty, soul-churning performance by Ben Foster. It is a movie with a clear moral conscience at its core, which may disappoint some who are looking for a string of happy endings, and others who alternately want the world to conform to a cynical philosophy. One to elicit discussion, for sure.Jude Law and Rachel Weisz, in a scene from "360"Jude Law & Rachel Weisz in "360"

Anonymous: It’s weird to see a movie at TIFF which you know will be rolled out into movie theatres soon. Weirder still to stand in line and see a massive-sized poster for the movie you are about to see across the street from you, telling you that it will premiere in a month’s time. The tickets were comps, so I didn’t let this hang me up. Sam Reid as the Earl of Essex, in "Anonymous"

Anonymous isn’t a great film, I will say that now. In an effort to dramatize its thesis – that our notion of Shakespeare is based on a ruse, and that The Bard’s works were actually written by a nobleman, the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) – it crams in so many plot points to justify its theory (and it is a leading Shakespeare-alternate theory, for what that’s worth) that I felt separated from the characters (and eventually the story) on the screen. And this is a shame, because it’s a gorgeous-looking film and the filmmakers obviously spent a dear load of time making everything look authentic. The performances as well are quite strong, with a cast which also includes Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth I and David Thewlis, who all but lives beneath the skin of the calculating William Cecil. The great tragedy, if you will pardon the pun, is that Rhys Ifans’ affecting lead performance, an actor who for so long has held films together in often comic-serving supporting roles, seems sacrificed to some degree – scattered across a time-spanning storyline – so that we only see him intermittently. Pity. Still, for those who love movies with codpieces and horse hooves clop-clop-clopping on cobblestone, you could do worse.


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