Festival Circuit: Toronto International Film Festival begins – Early Reactions

“The Fifth Estate,” kicked off Toronto with a mixed response despite strong performances from Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Bruhl.

Meanwhile, “Captain Phillips” was privately screened to the press and mostly positive reviews have come through for it. Primarily citing the performances of Tom Hanks and newcomer Barkhad Abdi.

“Enough Said” screens to bigger crowd today, but was met with some positive reactions mostly addressing the pleasantness of seeing Gandolfini post-mordem.

The Fifth Estate

Telegraph gives it 3/5:

“Bill Condon’s film aims to do with Julian Assange and his ironically opaque transparency mission something like what David Fincher’s The Social Network did for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. At Times, this debt is so obvious that the movie’s style feels second-hand: an overeager, slightly shop-worn bombardment of finger-on-the-pulse pop-out graphics, representing the giddy proliferation of voices in the misinformation age by simply filling the screen with text.”

 “Benedict Cumberbatch is inspiredly cast, serving up a technically ingenious performance which may be his juiciest ever. Where a lot of bipics (this isn’t one, really) content themselves with either passable impersonation or a kind of party-trick caricature, he seizes the chance to show us both, an instantly reconisable Assange and a psychologically detailed one.”

The Hollywood Reporter gives it a mixed review:

“Benedict Cumberbatch’s Julian Assange is the highlight of a sometimes ordinary-feeling film.”

Indiewire gives it a C-:

“Condon, a proficient filmmaker whose screenplays for “Gods and Monsters” as well as “Kinsey” demonstrated a capacity for smart biographical storytelling, seems incapable of grappling with Assange’s slippery nature. By the end, Assange has virtually hacked the project: When Cumberbatch speaks out in character against the production of the movie, “The Fifth Estate” winds up its own worst critic.”

Variety gives it a mixed review:

Ripped from headlines that still feel wet (even if its suvjects might feel that phrasing fives print media too much credit, “The Fifth Estate” dramatizes the fast, controversial rise of anonymous-whistleblower website WikiLeaks and its figurehead, Julian Assange. Aiming to provide kind of speculative personality portrait behind another sweeping digital-age change in communication that touches nearly everyone, a la “The Social Network,” helmer Bill Condon and scenarist Josh Singer’s film must also stuff in a heavy load of global events, all in a hyperkinetic style aping today’s speed of information dispersal. Results can’t help but stimulate, but they’re also cluttered and overly frenetic, resulting in a narrative less informative, cognate and even emotionally engaging than Alex Gibney’s recent docu “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks.” Initial interest should be high, though likely mixed critical and word of mouth response may dampen B.O. staying power.


@jrnepales: Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Bruhl in THE FIFTH ESTATE do not disappoint…

@johnsemley3000: THE FIFTH ESTATE (condon): beyond imbecilic. history with no hindsight (or clarity of vision). worst to open TIFF since WHALE MUSIC? #TIFF13

@FredTopel: THE FIFTH ESTATE is ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN from Deep Throat’s POV. Good portrait, but it’s no JOBS. 🙂 #tiff

@sleepyskunk: THE FIFTH ESTATE: A frantic techno-beat thriller that shares more in common with HACKERS than THE SOCIAL NETWORK.

@AntonSirius: Fifth Estate gets ham-fisted towards the end, but compelling performances and a refusal to judge its main players carry it through. #TIFF

@LouLumenick: THE FIFTH ESTATE is basically THE SOCIAL NETWORK with Assange as a smellier, even less trustworthy Zuckerberg. #TIFF13

@alanjonesxxxv: THE FIFTH ESTATE feels like old people trying to use hashtags. #TIFF13

@ScottFeinberg: Main takeaway from THE FIFTH ESTATE: Alicia Vikander is gorgeous. #TIFF13

@DavidPoland: The Fifth Estate is a talk movie, not a scream movie. Cumberbatch gives a very human performace though Assange is such a drama queen.

@nprmonkeysee: Well, the Big Hollywood Wikileaks Movie is certainly the very model of a Big Hollywood Wikileaks Movie. #TIFF13

@nprmonkeysee (Later): Just for the record, a big speech summing up your movie with “Well, he’s bad but also good!” is. not the same as nuance. #TIFF13

@nprmonkeysee (Later): Oh, and people typing on computers will never be exciting in a movie. So stop trying.

Captain Phillips

Variety is mostly positive:

“The result is a kinetic docudrama that always impresses without ever connecting emotionally in quite the same way as the helmer’s prior “Bloody Sunday,” and “United 93,” with which “Phillips” forms a loose trilogy of average Joes and Janes caught in the throes of politically motivated violence. Setting sail with an opening-night berth at the New York Film Festival (where another seafaring epic, “Life of Pi,” launched last year), this impeccably well-made, gripping but grim survival tale should spark a flurry of awards buzz for star Tom Hanks and powerful Somali newcomer Barkhad Abdi, but may prove too grueling to make major waves with Academy voters or the muliplex crowd.

Indiewire gives it a B:

“It’s hard to imagine “Captain Phillips” in the hands of any other filmmaker – and “Captain Phillips” in the hands of Greengrass looks exactly like anyone familiar with his work would expect. It does justice to the material even while playing too conscientiously by the book. For better or worse, Greengrass’ virtuous approach is a thinkpiece on imperialism that’s been smuggled into commercial escapism.

The Wrap gives a review that focuses more on politics than the movie.

The Hollywood Reporter gives a positive review:

“Paul Greengrass excels again at recreating a perilous chapter of the post 9-11 era. Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks team up for a pulsating account of the kidnapping of the captain of an American cargo ship by Somali pirates.”

“The film rips right along and never relinquishes its grip. The format of the last-minute heroics goes back to the earliest Westerns and could well be accused of patness or being cliched, other than the fact that it’s what happened.”

Captain Phillips has only screened for press, no tweets available yet.

Enough Said


@DavidPoland: There is something very powerful about watching Gandolfini playing a role in Enough Said where he just talks like a regular guy.

@Breznican: First #TIFF13 screening was a great one. “Enough Said,” such a funny & touching love story between Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini.

@Breznican (Later): Funny as “Enough Said” is, there’s undeniable poignancy to Gandolfini being gone. But it’s nice to see him again, for one of the last times.

“Enough Said” will screen to a larger audience later on in the festival.