We round up the enthusiastic reception of the six Film4-backed films which played at Toronto 2014, including the world premieres of The Riot Club, The Duke Of Burgundy and Second Coming.
The Riot Club
Ahead of its UK release this week, Lone Scherfig’s Film4-backed adaptation of Laura Wade’s acclaimed stage play Posh received its world premiere in Toronto, and the dapper cast – including leads Sam Claflin, Max Irons and Douglas Booth – took to the red carpet. Critics praised these young stars, with The Telegraph’s Tim Robey writing that the film is “perfectly cast in its main roles [...] Sam Claflin has a hard, bitter edge to him – he’s a lone wolf, seeing what he can get out of this bunch, seizing his chances to pounce. Douglas Booth affects a raffish nonchalance that’s perfect for a character whose corruption and predatory contempt for women are papered over by a veneer of charm. And Max Irons, given range for a lot more doubt and self-awareness than Miles had on stage, is hugely impressive.”
The Riot Club is in UK cinemas now.
The Duke Of Burgundy
Director Peter Strickland took to the Bell Lightbox stage to introduce his third feature with a list of continuity errors in one hand (’11 minutes in, we’ve got a problem with a compost heap…’), and a recording of mole crickets in the other, giving the audience a taster of the unique viewpoint and amateur entomology that makes up The Duke Of Burgundy. Rave reviews followed in The Telegraph (‘hair-raisingly kinky’), The Guardian (‘this is not just a filthy movie. It’s a considerable work of art’) and The Hollywood Reporter (‘a constant delight’), and the film was included in festival season highlight round-ups in The Dissolve, Little White Lies and Variety.
The Duke Of Burgundy screens at the BFI London Film Festival in October.
Receiving its world premiere in TIFF’s Discovery strand was the directorial feature debut of playwright Debbie Tucker Green, starring Nadine Marshall and Idris Elba as a couple whose domestic life breaks down in the aftermath of an unexplained pregnancy. Andrew Barker at Variety called the film an ”engrossing psychodrama” which offers “a fine showcase to a very fine cast”.
Second Coming screens at the BFI London Film Festival in October.
After premiering in Cannes earlier this year to rave reviews and a Best Actor prize win for Timothy Spall, Mike Leigh’s biographical drama about British painter J.M.W. Turner travelled across the Atlantic for appearances at both TIFF and Telluride (as did Misters Spall and Leigh, as you can see above and below). NPR’s film critic Bob Mondello called it “a wheezing, growling, snorting work of art; every frame worthy of a frame”.
Mr. Turner will receive a Festival Gala screening in October at the BFI London Film Festival and goes on general UK release on 31st October.
Both director Yann Demange and future megastar lead actor Jack O’Connell attended the Canadian premiere of their Troubles-set thriller, which opened earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival. The film was screening in the festival’s Discovery strand, and critics squarely focused on both the first-time feature director and his rising star. In Vanity Fair, Jordan Hoffman wrote: “it takes a great deal of skill to shoot chaos in an orderly way, and Demange nails it. The first 30 minutes of the film are pure and direct, in a deceptively documentary-seeming style, but with a furious mounting tension,” and remarked that, paired with his breakout performance in last year’s Film4-backed prison drama Starred Up, “it is clear that O’Connell’s got chops”.
’71 screens at the BFI London Film Festival in October, and goes on general release in the UK on Friday 10th October.
A full entourage of cast and crew were out in force to back up director Gerard Johnson as he introduced the Toronto crowd to his compelling corrupt cops thriller, which Sight & Sound contributor Ashley Clark called “nasty, grimly funny, and stylish with a great, perma-ruffled lead turn from [Peter] Ferdinando”.
Hyena will be released in 2015.