The Edinburgh International Film Festival 2009 came to a close yesterday and it marked the end of another great year of films at the world's longest continually running film festival. Although this is only my second year covering the festival, it's nonetheless been fantastic so far and definitely something I'll continue on to do in coming years.
Although I ultimately didn't see as many films as I probably could have, I saw a fair amount that allowed me a broad range of types and genres. Below I have a provided a good, the bad and the ugly analysis of the films I saw; the good are those movies that I loved/liked, the bad are the those which I disliked/thought were okay and the ugly are those which I hated.
Without a doubt the two highlights of the EIFF 2009 were the Canadian zombie film with a twist that is Ponytpool, and the blaxploitation spoof/throwback Black Dynamite. Pontypool is effectively a zombie film, but it turns the horror sub-genre on its head to provide one of the most purely enjoyable movies I've seen in quite some time, and my absolute favourite film of the festival. Black Dynamite was also extremely entertaining, one of the fewest recent spoof movies to get the formula right.
Van Diemen's Land takes the prize for most powerful film of the festival in my books; a raw, visceral, uncompromising look at a gang of escaped convicts' quest for freedom and the struggle to survive by any means necessary (and I mean any means). The slow-burning, intriguing, and well performed detective drama The Missing Person featured an Oscar worthy performance from Michael Shannon. Sam Mendes' charming and loveable Away We Go saw the usually serious and slow-burning style of the once-theatre director take a turn for the sweeter, and he shows it's not a challenge for him to diversify.
Outrage was the only documentary I saw at the EIFF this year, and it's one I'm glad I picked out from the many that were showing. A shocking expose of closeted gay politicians who make the harshest laws against gay people, it's fun yet entertaining and funny yet informative. A really well made documentary that I'd recommend to anyone, even if politics isn't necessarily on your top ten list of areas of interest.