In part six of our TIFF 2011 preview, Andrew Parker takes a look at Drive, Edwin Boyd, and Headhunters. Check back over the next few days for more previews of films playing at TIFF 2011.
Drive * Criticize This! TIFF Pick *
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn takes a simple concept – the criminal wheelman (simply named Driver, played by Ryan Gosling) caught up in a heist gone wrong – and creates a no nonsense action film that easily stands alongside some of the best car based capers of the 70s and 80s. The hype around the film might be just a tad much, but it is still a perfectly entertaining film with a great performance from a more bad ass than usual Gosling and a scene stealing turn from Albert Brooks as a truly frightening mobster. Refn also proves that his win for best director at Cannes was not a fluke, as the film has some extremely well choreographed sequences, both loud and quiet.
Rating: **** (out of 5 stars)
September 10 at 9:15 p.m. at the Ryerson
September 11 at 9 a.m. at the Bell Lightbox
Director: Nathan Morlando
Former soldier, wannabe actor, and renowned bank robber Edwin Boyd (played here by an excellent Scott Speedman) gets profiled in this well constructed biopic from first time director Nathan Morlando. The documenting of Boyd’s rise and fall is pretty standard, but Speedman and Morlando work overtime to make the material sing. For a low budget period piece (spanning three decades) shot in Toronto and Sault Ste. Marie in the dead of winter, Edwin Boyd should stand as a testament to all first time filmmakers with an ambitious vision. Culturally interesting and consistently entertaining, Edwin Boyd is one of the best profiles of a Canadian figure in quite some time.
Rating: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
September 10 at 9:15 p.m. at the Bell Lightbox
September 12 at 3 p.m. at the Ryerson
Director: Morten Tyldum
Headhunters tries really hard to be a twisty cat and mouse thriller, but it gets bogged down by a fairly illogical series of events in the middle of the film. Aksel Hennie delivers a great performance as a thief named Roger who chooses his marks through his day job as a corporate headhunter. After Roger runs afoul of an ex-special forces agent turned nanotechnology pioneer, he is forced to leave his unsuspecting wife behind and go on the run. The direction and acting aren’t the biggest problems here. The script somehow decides to either constantly remind the viewer of certain plot threads while dropping others entirely. It grows grating after a while. Luckily, the film manages a pretty great twist just before the climax that pulls the viewer back in. It’s a real shame about that middle, though.
Rating: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
September 10 at 9:45 p.m. at the Scotiabank
September 11 at 9:15 p.m. at the AMC
TIFF 2011 runs from September 8 – 18. For more information, visit tiff.net.
Top image: A scene from Drive. Courtesy TIFF.