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Five Fingers for Marseilles: TIFF17 Review

by Charles Trapunski
3.5 out of 5 stars

The Discovery program exists for titles like Five Fingers for Marseilles and as an audience, we’re lucky that a film like this one plays at the festival.

For one, it’s cinematic. Find the biggest screen possible and treasure this impressive title and enjoy seeing a treatment that isn’t seen on film very often, (if at all!) The idea of a neo-colonialist western in South Africa could have had “dull but good for you” written all over it. Yet this film is expansive and filled with interesting ideas and quite stunning in scope, size and magnitude, especially for a debut film.

One issue though: it drags like you wouldn’t believe. There is way too much padding for a film of this scope (almost two hours) and when it takes eighteen minutes to get to the title screen…

And yet it’s a minor quibble in an achievement that lingers long afterwards. If Michael Matthews could find a way to cut maybe twenty minutes of exposition, this would be a contender for Discovery of the year.

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