End of Watch

The first film I saw at the Toronto International Film Fesitval this year was End of Watch, which actually opens today.

For me, this was a really good film if a difficult one. It becomes clear, not that far in, that there’s no chance this movie is going to end well… and I kept thinking, D’uh, you dummy, of course it’s not going to end well, it’s called END of Watch.

The performances were really strong and ultimately it’s a story about two men in a working relationship who really care about each other and about their jobs. A bromance.

Sadly, it’s also about how sometimes it doesn’t pay to do the right thing. It was kind of depressing to see this demonstrated so clearly–why some police officers would choose to look the other way at times. Almost like the worse the criminals the more the police have to lose by pursuing them.

But it’s also about the real (friendship) love between two men and a glance into the lives of police officers in one of the most dangerous parts of LA.

I was at the second screening for this film, so the actors weren’t there :( but the director was :) and he did a brief Q&A.

Interesting things learned:

– that the part of LA these police work in is as dangerous as was depicted in the film. Police officers there see more action in a typical day than most others do in their entire careers
– an AK 47 is a highly inaccurate gun. I can’t remember the exact stats the director gave on their accuracy, but basically it made sense of all the scenes I’ve seen in movies where the hero is being fired upon by multiple  automatic weapons, yet manages not to get hit…
– Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña did not get along well (according to the director). This made me more impressed with their acting performances.

If you’re in the mood for a tension filled not so happy film, check this one out.

TIFF People’s Choice Winner

And the winner is:

Silver Linings Playbook

SAt easth

Alas, I did not see this one–it was already sold out when my number came up to book tickets :-( –but I definitely will see it when it comes out.

 At each screening during the festival this year, they reminded us of past People’s Choice winning films that premiered at TIFF and went on to greatness. There have been many such films, but the 3 they reminded us of were: American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech.

The rags-to-riches story that was most dramatic was that for Slumdog Millionaire — for a few reasons. First, it was destined to be a straight to DVD release before it screened at TIFF and it went on to gross a huge amount globally and second… I was in its premiere screening at TIFF in 2008.  Because it was a premiere and no one knew anything about it, (other than the director was Danny Boyle), the reaction and atmosphere at the premiere were electric.

I remember only hesitantly putting Slumdog on my list of picks that year. I wanted to see it because I’ve been a huge fan of Danny Boyle ever since I saw Shallow Grave… but on the down side the photo they put in the program made the film look bleak and I thought it would be a kids suffering in the slums of Mumbai kind of movie — and I try not to do too many of those kinds of films at TIFF. (Many films at the festival are on the dark side… and it can get overwhelming if you don’t balance it with a few lighter ones.)

But I’m so glad I picked Slumdog that year. I was blown away. Here’s my rambling blog post about Slumdog Millionaire during the 2008 TIFF.

Can’t wait to start posting more about the films I saw this year. :-)