The Picks of TIFF 2019
Max Ingleby presents his favourite films from this year’s edition of the Toronto International Film Festival.
With Toronto International Film Festival drawing to a close earlier this month, and over 300 films on the roster, it’s hard to know where to start looking for your next favourite movie. But fear not – from the soon-to-be-blockbuster smashes to the microbudget indie dramas, we’ve got you covered.
“Starring Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell, as well as Waititi as Adolf Hitler (obviously), this bizarre black comedy set in 1940s Germany is sure to be an absolute blast.”
Joker – UK Release 4/10/19
Heralded as dark, twisted and grimly entertaining, Joaquin Phoenix shapeshifts into the tormented outcast Arthur Fleck for his entry into the DC canon. It’s the movie everyone’s talking about right now, and for good reason. Loved by critics and audiences alike, sometimes it’s alright to believe the hype.
Hustlers – UK Release 13/9/19
This Scorsese-style crime caper about a gang of scamming strippers is making an unexpectedly big splash in the US box office, with critics lauding the performances of J-Lo and Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians). With Cardi B and Lizzo also starring, Hustlers is a must-see film this September.
Jojo Rabbit – UK Release 3/1/20
Taika Waititi started his career making charming, low budget films like 2010’s Boy, but since directing Thor: Ragnarok, the actor/director has had an opportunity to bring his wonderful weirdness into the Hollywood mainstream. Starring Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell, as well as Waititi as Adolf Hitler (obviously), this bizarre black comedy set in 1940s Germany is sure to be an absolute blast.
The Goldfinch – UK Release 27/9/19
The biggest box office bomb of the year, The Goldfinch is reputed to have lost its studio over $50 million; it’s tempting to see this film in cinemas out of morbid curiosity. Ansel Elgort has been moping about its failure on his Instagram stories, so why not buy a ticket just to cheer him up? Do it for Ansel.
“Radcliffe wakes up in a battle royale orchestrated by dark net enigmas with guns literally nailed to his hands. Yeah. Why not?”
Ones You Might Have Missed…
Sound of Metal – Date TBA
The ubiquitous Riz Ahmed takes centre stage in this gripping drama about a heavy metal drummer who discovers he’s going deaf. Exploring themes of addiction and self-acceptance, make sure to see this fascinating character study in what could be a career-best performance from Ahmed.
Waves – UK Release 17/1/20
From director Trey Edward Shults, Waves is an emotionally intense exploration of a family processing a traumatic event, anchored by a harrowing performance from Kelvin Harris Jr. With a trailer set to Frank Ocean, Euphoria actress Alexa Demie co-starring and a character struggling with prescription drug addiction, this truly feels like a film that reflects the current American psyche.
Guns Akimbo – Date TBA
In the vein of Swiss Army Man, Daniel Radcliffe has dived headfirst into another wacky indie project, but this time he isn’t playing a flatulent corpse. Instead, Radcliffe wakes up in a battle royale orchestrated by dark net enigmas with guns literally nailed to his hands. Yeah. Why not?
“All signs point to Eggers bringing that same powerful sense of dread to The Lighthouse, starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as grizzled seamen living on an island in the midst of a ferocious storm.”
Uncut Gems – Date TBA
The horrifically tense Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson and directed by the Safdie Brothers, left me a nervous wreck when I watched it in 2017, and their next project looks no different. Plunging straight back into the sleazy, neon-drenched underbelly of NYC, Adam Sandler leads as a deceiving jeweller racking up some dangerous debts, with violence and mayhem sure to induce palpitations.
The Lighthouse – UK Release 31/1/20
I thought Robert Eggers’ last project, the incredibly sinister The Witch, was easily one of the best horror films of the decade. All signs point to Eggers bringing that same powerful sense of dread to The Lighthouse, starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as grizzled seamen living on an island in the midst of a ferocious storm. Shot in a nearly square (1.19 to 1) aspect ratio, expect thick accents, beautiful shots and terrifyingly mesmerising performances.
Marriage Story – UK Release 15/11/19
Love him or hate him, Noah Baumbach has a knack for digging deep into dysfunctional relationships, with 2017’s The Meyerowitz Stories a prime example of the delicacy in which he handles family dynamics. Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver’s chemistry is palpable just from the trailer, and I cannot wait to watch this intimate examination of a broken marriage.