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#TIFF14 Reviews: Nightcrawler and Pride

September 6, 2014

By John Corrado

#TIFF14 Poster

I’ve been waiting two weeks to tell everyone about Nightcrawler, and now that the first weekend of TIFF is upon us and the embargo has lifted after Friday night’s world premiere, I can finally tell you that the film is an absolute stunner.

And then there’s the glorious Pride, which is already on my list of favourites for the year.  Although tickets might be hard to come by at this point, especially as the rave reviews start to appear including the ones below, both of these films should absolutely be added to your schedule if you can.

But not all of the good stuff at the festival is even feature length.  There are also numerous short films worth checking out, including Zero Recognition, which plays as part of the first Short Cuts Canada Programme.  The directorial debut of Canadian actor Ben Lewis, who stars alongside fellow Degrassi: The Next Generation alum Lauren Collins, Zero Recognition is an autobiographical satire of fame and how people react to meeting celebrities, that manages to be both funny and smart in just under ten minutes.

All things considered, I actually have a pretty light opening weekend this year, but I will be seeing the bulk of my movies throughout the week, so please come back tomorrow for reviews of While We’re Young and My Old Lady, and on Tuesday for my thoughts on the highly anticipated films The Theory of Everything, Whiplash and The Imitation Game.  Enjoy!

Nightcrawler: Deserving comparisons to Martin Scorsese’s iconic Taxi Driver, Nightcrawler has all the makings of a modern classic.  Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a small time thief, but when he stumbles upon a gruesome car crash, he discovers the competitive and morally ambiguous world of freelance crime journalism.  He buys a camera and starts driving around the nighttime streets of Los Angeles, filming various emergencies and selling the unflinching footage to a local TV station where he meets Nina (Rene Russo), a cutthroat news director who fuels his obsession.  Jake Gyllenhaal is simply mesmerizing to watch throughout every scene of director Dan Gilroy’s gripping and often disturbing thriller.  With intoxicating cinematography, a brilliantly written screenplay that compellingly challenges how we view violence in the media, and a constant sense of palpable suspense, Nightcrawler is a fascinating and shocking film that creeps up on you and is impossible to shake afterwards.  Mark my words, see this one before everyone starts talking about it.

Friday, September 5th – 9:00 PM @ Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
Saturday, September 6th – 12:00 PM @ Ryerson Theatre
Friday, September 12th – 9:00 PM @ Ryerson Theatre

Pride: There is perhaps no greater compliment than to say that Pride left me with the same feelings I had after seeing The King’s Speech at the festival four years ago.  Based on a true story, the film takes place in 1984, when a group of lesbians and gays from London, led by the determined Mark (Ben Schnetzer), came to the aid of striking miners in a small Welsh town, after their job security fell victim to Margaret Thatcher’s reign.  With a cast that includes Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton, as well as moving work from the young George MacKay, all of the actors come together to create a rich group of characters that we find ourselves genuinely rooting for.  Director Matthew Warchus nails the perfect tone, mixing humour, drama and politics without ever taking a wrong step.  With an ending that left me in tears of joy, Pride is a profoundly affective crowdpleaser filled with plenty of wonderfully humorous and also genuinely heartfelt scenes along the way.  We might not see a more rousing, entertaining, inspiring and also moving film this year.

Saturday, September 6th – 2:45 PM @ Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
Sunday, September 7th – 12:30 PM @ Isabel Bader Theatre

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