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With more than 333 features from over 80 countries, the Toronto International Film Festival was a whole lot bigger than the buzz. Yes, TIFF launched some of the most anticipated titles of the fall, and elevated others that premiered earlier in the year, many of which will dominate the awards conversation in the weeks ahead. Fortunately, some of them are very much worth the hype. However, the program encompassed a range of first-rate narratives and documentaries from around the world as well, and any list of the best movies at TIFF must acknowledge these, too. Here are the IndieWire team’s 12 favorite movies from this year’s festival, with major Oscar contenders and under-the-radar gems alike.
Trick - Cory - Finley - Bad - Education
The incredible magic trick of Cory Finley’s “Bad Education,” a diabolically smart true-life crime drama that stars Hugh Jackman as a Long Island superintendent in his best performance since “The Prestige,” is how it manages to invite sympathy for the devil even after it convinces you why he should go to ****. Heavy with poisoned humor and as panoramic as Finley’s “Thoroughbreds” was laser-focused, “Bad Education” is in no hurry to reveal the full picture; watching the first hour of the movie, it’s hard to imagine how this seemingly benign tale of suburban malfeasance could possibly explode into the biggest embezzlement scandal in the history of the American school system. But it sure does.
Documentaries - Destruction - War - None - Depths
There have been many recent documentaries capturing the harrowing destruction of the Syrian civil war, but none that descend to the literal depths of “The Cave.” Director Feras Fayyad’s gripping followup to the Oscar-nominated “Last Men in Aleppo” takes place almost exclusively within the confines of an underground hospital that may as well be post-apocalyptic. As Russian bombs rain down on Eastern Gouta, and government forces keep some 40,000 people trapped...
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It had only one fault, it was useless.