TIFF review: Anne At 13,000 Ft

ANNE AT 13,000 FT PLAT D: Kazik Radwanski. Canada/U.S. 75 minutes. Sep 9, 6:45 pm, TIFF 1 Sep 14, 7 pm, TIFF 2. Rating: NNNN

If the Dardenne brothers remade A Woman Under The Influence, it might look a lot like Radwanski’s latest study of a Torontonian in a slow-motion crisis. This time, his protagonist is a young day-care worker whose equilibrium is slipping from her grasp. Her name is Anne, and we’re trapped with her as she spirals through a couple of very bad weeks, self-medicating with alcohol and refusing offers of help from friends, parents and lovers. 

Anne is played by the remarkable Deragh Campbell (of O, Brazen Age, Never Eat Alone and Fail To Appear), who is utterly, completely present in every moment. Radwanski’s close-up strategy means Nikolay Michaylov’s camera is trained almost constantly on her face, capturing every nervous laugh, every flash of panic, every frantic attempt to turn a blurted cry for help into a joke.

The movie around her is just as electrifying, steadily building in intensity and empathy until we know precisely how Anne feels – and it’s almost unbearable. Which is the point, of course.

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