Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsTIFF 2019: The Twentieth Century Review

Kielan EllisSeptember 4, 201990/100
Daniel Beirne, Sarianne Cormier, Mikhaïl Ahooja
Matthew Rankin
Matthew Rankin
14A (Canada)
Running Time
90 minutes
Release Date
Septemner 10th, 2019 (TIFF)
Overall Score
Rating Summary
The Twentieth Century is crazy, trippy, unpleasant and incredibly satisfying. Its incredibly Freudian themes, a strange satire on its country of origin and compellingly sinister lead performance that leave you take a shower (but in a good way).

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

The Twentieth Century is an incredibly intriguing film that follows the life of a William Lyon McKenzie King (Beirne who was wonderful at giving us a consistent window into his strange and perverted psyche while maintaining a sense of likability to him). Balancing a truly turbulent collection of themes that vary wildly from the political to the sublime, the film consistently adheres to an aesthetic, that would call into question the very themes presented.

Where The Twentieth Century would fall short was its lack of explanation in certain parts. Various plot threads are left dangling for long periods of time, causing the pace to suffer while audiences might find themselves confused by other quirks. Meanwhile, the film’s aesthetic throughout is absolutely gorgeous. It could be charming, beautiful, and if looked at the right way, very sinister (just like the writing)The Twentieth Century is beautifully shot and wonderfully lit, showcasing all of Rankin’s directing talent here, in this strange surreal landscape he creates for himself to shoot.

Without giving too much away, The Twentieth Century is a unique, creative and incredibly strange film, so much so that it should be able to capture the imagination of anyone willing to give it so much as a chance. Those able to see it at Midnight Madness at TIFF this year, please do so. It’ll be absolutely insane, and this reviewer would give anything to see Rankin describe why and how he made this strange twisted take on a CBC heritage minute.

*still courtesy of Maison 4:3*

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