TIFF (False) Day One and "The Trip"

Posted by julian On 8:00 AM
Lev Lewis from the Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival begins anew and with it my annual and indispensable musings. Well, scratch out indispensable and change musings to ramblings and you most likely have a good approximation of the coming week. Many thanks to Nathaniel for indulging me.

TIFF got off to a late start for me this year. A full two days of the festival had passed me by before I settled in for a late night screening of Michael Winterbottom's second film of 2010, The Trip. It was sad to be static for two days while news of goings on reverberated amongst the internet (Twitter can be cruel) but the film turned out to be a welcome way to start the journey.

The Trip follows the duo of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon (from the wonderful Tristram Shandy, a sort of companion piece here) as they begrudgingly navigate the upscale restaurants of Northern England together. There's little in the way of conflict or action; Brydon's a devout family man, wife and baby and all. Coogan, divorced and in a floundering relationship, seems intent on sustaining his youth, one night stands; a recurring theme in his life.



And there's no shortage of laughs here. Brydon and Coogan are uproarious together, nailing the pathetic competition as well as the subtle fondness the two occasionally share. Sadly, The Trip shares little of the inventiveness of Tristram Shandy. The film, which was shot without script, too often seems edited down from hours of improvisation so that the constant cutting too often mars the natural hilarity of the protagonists. Moments of intermittent food preparation, while mouthwatering, appear merely superfluous. And Winterbottom, by highlighting Coogan and Brydon's dissimilarities, strikes not honesty but cliche. Still, it's worth it if only for a genius bit involving a Michael Caine impression. B?

That's Lev for now. A busy day tomorrow consisting of The Illusionist, the acclaimed animated feature by Sylvain Chomet, Our Day Will Come, the debut of controversial music video director Romain Gavras and finally Dustin Lance Black's directorial debut What's Wrong With Viriginia?

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