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TIFF Day 5: Points of Reference & Cinematic Mashups

Today was a light day for me with a couple of films followed by an amazing meet-up with a ton of local cinephiles and TIFF goers at a pub around the corner. It’s nothing but smiles and joy here at TIFF 2013…

THE DOG (dir. Allison Berg & Frank Keraudren)

The Dog TIFF

In 1972 in NYC there was a bank robbery. In 1975 they made a movie about it called Dog Day Afternoon and this film is about the real John Wojtowicz, who was played by Al Pacino in the film from 1975.

Directors Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren decided to get John on camera discussing his life and his infamy, the problem with that is somewhat the discussions come off as one note for the entire 100 minute runtime. As one of my most anticipated films of the festival I left it completely disappointed and unsure of it all. With this fascinating event in history where we see John and Sal rob this bank in Dog Day Afternoon we get to follow John tell his story before and after the event.

The problem with this film as whole is the bank robbery in itself. It’s become such a iconic moment in film history that as a set of film lovers that Berg and Keraudren are when they eventually get John and his family on camera they barely are able to stray from that point in time that it becomes just a film about how many times they can have John and family discuss the fact that he’s “The Dog” as he says so often. The discussions are never challenging or interesting as while the whole angle of John’s motivations for robbing the bank being for his homosexual lover that wanted to have a sex change, those things are covered in the previous film and just worth a moment’s mention as opposed to a full film’s runtime.

Grade: ★★☆☆☆

THE DOUBLE (dir. Richard Ayoade)

The Double TIFF

Richard Ayoade (Submarine) returns with his adaptation of a novela by Fyodor Dostoevsky about a man who encounters his doppelganger that eventually takes over his life. Just like the novela, Simon James is introduced to James Simon (Jesse Eisenberg) which are polar opposites, Simon is the diligent hardworking brilliant man that can’t get a word in a room while James in the smooth talking guy that barely spends a minute as his desk. We watch as Simon tries to deal with this new version of himself running around in his world.

The film comes off as a cross between Brazil and Dead Ringers as Gilliam and Cronenberg are obvious touchstones for film of this nature. We’re in this office setting of complete repression and control that it’s only when the loveable outgoing Simon James enters it looks anything but just horrendous spaces that people hate.

I adore this movie so much. It’s like a 90 minute ride of crazy as we see the idea of the future being just an automated world and at the same time seeing the overrealised world that feels like the future people thought was going to happen in the 50s and 60s but didn’t — which were things we say in Gilliam’s films — and at the same time it kind of talks about the importance of being an individual and not hiding in the crowd as many do nowadays.

I need to see this movie again…

Grade: ★★★★★

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Andrew Robinson

Andrew Robinson

I love movies, I love TV so obviously I blog. You can read all my other ramblings on this and that over at https://gmanreviews.com