The fourth day of TIFF was a great exercise in going with the flow. I had a plan (see some Canadian art films, go to the premiere of one of Colin’s Vanguard titles). In the end, nothing really turned out the way I planned, but I had a great day.
It started with a delicious team brunch with the folks from Shudder, which, if you know me or Colin personally, you might know is a super cool new horror VOD service we’ve been involved with for a while (here’s an Entertainment Weekly interview with Colin explaining it). We caught up and talked future plans, and then, full of delicious breakfast, I waddled off to my first screening and promptly decided that I was too full and tired to watch anything other than a Hollywood movie.
But first, I stopped into the Industry Centre, where I ran into Joe and Josh (of the illustrious Mind’s Eye crew), who had just picked up tickets to that evening’s screening of Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise, which I thought was completely sold out. Obviously, I ran as fast as my legs could carry me to the industry box office and snagged myself one.
And then, off to the movies.
I chose whatever Hollywood thing was starting next, which turned out to be Truth, the Cate Blanchett & Robert Redford film about the G.W. Bush story that ultimately led to Dan Rather’s departure from the CBS anchor’s seat. For a big-budget, Hollywood, awards-bait-y film, it was really quite good. The performances were excellent, that almost goes without saying. But the real reason I liked the film is that its message was actually something I agree with (and think is kinda subversive for such a mainstream film). The point this film is making is all about the corporatization and Hollywoodization of news, the fact that news has stopped being a public good and has become a profit-generating entertainment, which leads to fewer hard-hitting stories or investigative journalists tracking down leads that are critical of the government (and increasingly: corporate) powers that be.
After the film I made my way to the Midnight Madness cocktail, where I spent two hours catching up with an assortment of friends and scarfing down sliders and tiny grilled cheese sandwiches, before racing off to the Elgin for my one and only “fancy screening” experience of the fest – High-Rise! It was a combined public and press/industry screening, which made for a curious vibe in the theatre – 20% industry types (some of whom left partway through, probably because they care about parties more than about movies), 40% Ben Wheatley mega-fans, and 40% members of the general public who wanted to see something high-profile at TIFF and/or are rabid Tom Hiddleston fans. Sometimes, it can be genuinely delightful to watch films with people who don’t know what they’re in for. High-Rise (which, for the record, I really enjoyed – as Colin puts it, “it’s like a ’70s The Devils, with Luke Evans channeling Oliver Reed”) elicited some truly shocked gasps and squeals from people who probably did not realize what kind of film their favourite Marvel heartthrob was starring in.
The High-Rise screening, because it was in TIFF’s new Platform section, was followed by an extended Q&A with Ben Wheatley and his cast, and didn’t get out until midnight, so I sadly missed the premiere of The Devil’s Candy (by Sean Byrne, the director of previous Midnight Madness Audience Choice award winner and all-around brilliant film, The Loved Ones), which I loved and really wanted to see on the big screen. Con: missing a great film. Pro: getting to bed two hours earlier.