Contemporary World Cinema
The notion of a Spy vs. Spy is hardly just he stuff of Mad Magazine cartoons. The archetype of a killer pitted against another of his ilk makes for immediate drama, a kind of pugilism with assassins that immediately draws attention.
What’s terrific about Schneider vs. Bax is how it toys with our expectations, carving out a wonderfully jet-black comedy that still feels suspenseful. One would expect no different from the Scandinavians, who with films like Headhunters toe the line between humour and horror wonderfully.
Director Alex van Warmerdam (whose prior film Borgman made a hell of a splash) does a wonderful job at maintaining the balance throughout, twisting a stoner comedy into a bleak tragedy, and finding in the smallest of logistic details cause for both laughs and gasps of shock. Far from a one-note tune, the film goes through many phases, each building upon the first, so that what should be relatively straightforward concludes with an ending both sophisticated and incredibly moving.
A terrific slice of genre fun, Schneider vs. Bax is a treat.
MON SEP 14 9:30 PM @ Scotiabank Theatre Scotiabank 2
WED SEP 16 9:00 AM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1
SAT SEP 19 9:15 AM @ Scotiabank Theatre Scotiabank 1