There’s nothing quite like a film that completely hooks from its first shot, and that’s the case with Clint Bentley’s Jockey. It opens with a conversation, where aging jockey Jackson (Clifton Collins Jr.) and fellow jockey Leo (Logan Cormier) discuss a young rookie on the tour named Gabriel (Moises Arias). It’s a standard conversation that hooks because of how it’s shot, shadows in front of a sunset as they watch horses gallop. I must gush about Adolpho Veloso’s cinematography because I can’t remember when I’ve fallen in love so quickly with the look of a film. The bulk of the outdoor scenes are shot at the “golden hour,” highlighting the gorgeous oranges, blues and reds of Phoenix, AZ. In these scenes, the characters could be reciting the dictionary and I’d still be in awe.
The Rescue is the first documentary I’ve seen at TIFF, as part of their TIFF Docs programme. It’s a documentary about the rescue efforts in Thailand in 2018, when a soccer team of 12 kids and their coach found themselves trapped in the complex Tham Luang cave system. I have a terrible memory, but I’m sure I tracked this story when it made global headlines in 2018. I must have missed some important factors about it, as I was picturing them being lost deep in a cave, or being caved in somehow, where I was picturing a 127 Hours or Kirk Douglas film Ace in the Hole kind-of scenario. I didn’t realize it was flooding that trapped them. These are some of the perfect details tracked.
In Michael McGowan’s adaptation of Miriam Toews’ novel of the same name, All My Puny Sorrows concerns two sisters: Yoli (Alison Pill), a writer struggling with success, and the other, Elf (Sarah Gadon), a brilliant concert pianist who’s hellbent on ending her own life. The themes in this film are very heavy, as it opens with their father Jake (Donal Logue) waiting for a train and stepping in front of it to end his life. It’s a heartbreaking film that you’ll need a pick-me-up from after watching it, and one that I admittedly was apprehensive that would have the dull, negative melodrama of August: Osage County. However, this is a truly beautiful film. I really enjoyed these characters and getting to learn about the sisters’ relationship, and I was surprised by the story because I figured the sisters would be brought together by their father’s suicide, and not Elf’s own suicide attempt.
Besides the characters themselves, this film might as well be a tourism advertisement for the beauty of Montana. Giles Nuttgens’ cinematography is gorgeous, highlighting the landscapes, and it looks beautiful even in simple scenes of Erin riding a horse, Mr. T, with landscapes in the background. The cinematography here definitely has put Montana on my bucket list. The film’s great score complements these visuals so beautifully, too, and some scenes had me in awe.