David Fear / Rolling Stone
It’s the second-to-last stop on the Fall film-festival circuit, after Venice and Telluride and before the carefully curated New York cinefeast — but the Toronto International Film Festival holds a special place in traveling festgoers hearts. It’s a chance to catch up on the year’s already lauded entries from Cannes, Berlin and, occasionally, Sundance. You don’t need to fly to the nosebleed-altitude Colorado mountains to get there. It’s the semi-official kick-off of the awards season, when prestige films start garnering buzz and truly bad Oscarbait get Bronx cheers. And its catch-all approach to programming (big studio releases, under-the-radar docs, deep-cut foreign-language movies, namebrand-auteur hat tips, a raucous Midnight Madness section — and starting this year, a TV sidebar) means fanatics get a well-balanced diet of visual gorging.
Viva Ben Wheatley! The British director has been quietly churning out jawdropping, midnight-movie masterpieces ranging from genre mash-ups (the kitchen-sink gangster film Down Terrace, the serial-killer romcom Sightseers) to the downright unclassifiable (Kill List, A Field in England). Now he’s taking on J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel about a giant apartment building that doubles as a petri dish for class warfare, and the results look slick, sick and completely stunning.