As the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival drops the curtain for another year, and filmgoers have been enjoying a real treat this time around. There have been even more movies than ever splitting the opinion of critics and fans alike, with unanimous praise being curiously rare so far.
That being said there has certainly been enough interesting productions which have provided a blessed relief from the near weekly release of superhero flicks in recent months. So what are the latest talking points from Canada's #1 film festival?
What Is It About Pablo Escobar?
The long-deceased Colombian cocaine king has been something of a screen regular in recent years, featuring in documentaries, TV series and movies. He certainly was a compellingly brutal individual responsible for thousands of deaths during his self-appointed tenure, but was there a softer side as well? This is the question asked by 'Loving Pablo' starring Javier Barden and Penelope Cruz as Mr & Mrs Escobar which so far has split critics right down the middle. Some believe that it does serve to show that even monsters have feelings too, while others believe that the script is too sentimental and adds nothing new to the Escobar narrative.
Brie Larson's Unicorn Store Lacking In Fantasy
This is Larson's directorial debut and the consensus is that she shows considerable promise for telling a story. However, no matter how smoothly the story is told, the problem is that the movie just lacks interest. Despite commanding performances from the Oscar Winner backed up by the ever zany, Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack, this seems to be a production that really cannot decide where it sits on the genre spectrum. Sure it's a comedy - and all of the stars are highly competent in delivering the occasional quality set piece - but it ends up being just a procession of quirkiness that just doesn't quite deliver.
Christan Bale Stars In Hostiles
This year's western epic follows a familiar theme of revenge and redemption. A busy plot featuring plenty of weighty philosophies of masculinity, homeland, and forgiveness (plus of course Ben Foster playing an outlaw with classic natural panache), Bale leads the grizzled picture in typical fashion. Given the length and complexity of the movie - expect plenty of long panoramic shots overlaid by slow foreboding music - this will certainly be a hit with fans of the genre but may just be a little too heavy going to be a major success at the box office.
Gender Inequality On The Tennis Court
Emma Stone stars in this semi-biopic feature following early 70's tennis player Billie Jean King's efforts to gain equal prize money with male players. Battle of the Sexes may sound like it's going to be hard-hitting drama but it turns out to actually be pretty enjoyable, with audiences so far seemingly in agreement that it makes for a lighthearted Friday night movie. Stone's performance stands out thanks also to Steve Carrell, Bill Pullman and Sarah Silverman clearly enjoying their roles. The script is lively and fast-paced thanks to the talents of Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, and this could well be one of the surprising successes of the year.
Disobedience Is A Hit With Drama Fans
Heading back to slightly more high-brow productions debuting at this year's TIFF, Disobedience is the English language directorial debut from respected Chilean director Sebastián Lelio. Set between London and New York, the movie explores the many issues and interpretations of how to express piety in the modern world with the superb Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams both earning rave reviews. Those who have felt there hasn't been enough 'meat' in this year's selection will find more than a feast's worth here, with there already being whispers of potential award nominations for Lelio.